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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 3004..

Estimates 2004-2005-Select Committee

Report-government response

Debate resumed.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming, and Acting Minister for Planning) (1.05): I just want to thank members for their participation in the debate.

Motion agreed to.

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 22 June 2004, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (1.06): The opposition will be supporting this bill. The Assembly recently agreed to separate the legislation governing our rates system from the legislation governing our land tax. This is an important decision and one that will enhance public administration in the territory. Unfortunately, when this decision was made, a consequential decision was that the rating system would be administered under the Taxation Administration Act, with all its attendant provisions, to protect information relating to individual taxpayers.

The effect of this bill will be to permit relevant information to be released to the public; that is, the information contained in what is called "the schedule". That will contain information that has previously been readily available from various sources-for instance to compare your rates with those of your neighbours so that you might contest the rates assessment the government has given you for the year. The opposition will support the bill.

MS DUNDAS (1.07): The Democrats have no objections to this bill. We are very supportive of strong privacy laws, but this is not an instance where the disclosure identifiable in this information is likely to lead to any unacceptable outcomes. In fact, the only reason I can think of that someone may object to the value of their real property becoming public is if they were wishing to escape a liability for tax or some other payment that relates to assets held. The same information is disclosed to every property owner. As the Treasurer has outlined, there is good reason to make this information publicly available. It would indeed be difficult to dispute a rating decision if you could not compare your assessed value with those of your neighbours.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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