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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2340..

MR WOOD (continuing):

This sort of case would raise issues such as contributory negligence and whether it is reasonable in the circumstances for the person to be fully compensated. These are not appropriate matters for the AAT to consider. For compensation matters considered by the courts, the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 provides procedures for early resolution of claims and to assist in the settlement of cases before they go to court.

Mr Speaker, following the presentation of Mr Stefaniak's report, that is my indication of the government's response to the report.

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 (No 2)

Mr Quinlan , by leave, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (5.10): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 (No 2) is an omnibus bill. It amends the Rates Act 2004 to allow the Commissioner for ACT Revenue to disclose the unimproved value of every rateable parcel of property in the ACT to the public.

This bill also amends the Taxation Administration Act 1999 so that the release of this information is not restricted to particular people. Each year the Commissioner for ACT Revenue is required to redetermine the unimproved value of each rateable parcel of land, record the particulars and provide written notice to the owner. This record is stored in the ACT Revenue Office in a schedule that lists each suburb, section and block and the unimproved value.

The release of the information contained in this schedule was not previously governed by the Taxation Administration Act and it has been a longstanding practice for the schedule to be placed in government shopfronts. This allows ratepayers to compare their unimproved value with that of neighbouring or similar properties, and thereby support a case for objecting to the newly advised unimproved value.

From 1 July 2004, the Rates Act will be administered under the Taxation Administration Act. This act has secrecy provisions preventing the disclosure of any information that may identify taxpayers or disclose information about their personal affairs. Although the schedule does not contain names and addresses, it may indirectly provide enough information to identify individuals.

Mr Speaker, for an objection to an assessment based on valuation to be valid, the grounds must be stated fully and in detail. That detail may be a comparison with unimproved values of other blocks and the only source of this information is the schedule. Not being able to access the schedule will greatly reduce the taxpayer's chance of successful objection. Therefore legislation amendments are necessary to allow

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