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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 3 May 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1728 ..


calculate rates liability for rural land. In addition, the bill ensures that rural land with an average unimproved value equal to or less than the rates free threshold will be liable to pay the fixed charge component in the same manner as residential and commercial land.

Previously only rural properties with an average unimproved value higher than the rates free threshold were required to pay rates. Without this amendment, the rates increase announced today would have been implemented solely as an increase in the rating factor applied to unimproved land value of rural land exceeding the rates free threshold. The result of this would have been the imposition of larger increases in the annual rates liability on a small percentage of higher valued rural properties while a number of rural properties with a lower average unimproved land value would receive no increase or a very small increase in their annual rates liability.

This amendment is the most equitable way of implementing the rates increase on rural properties. The inclusion of a fixed charge in the rating formula for rural land will distribute the effect of the rates increase more evenly amongst rural land-holders. These amendments will commence from 1 July 2005. Once this bill has been enacted, a disallowable instrument will be introduced to set the fixed charge, value based charge and the rates free threshold for residential, rural and commercial properties as announced today.

The rates free threshold for this rating year will be increased from $21,500 to $22,000. A related instrument to increase the rates rebate cap for post-1 July 1997 pensioners from $305 to $365 has already been notified. Pre-1 July 1997 pensioners maintain their current rebate of 50 per cent of their rates bill. To allow for the introduction of this instrument during June, it is necessary to call forward debate on the bill to Friday, 6 May. I am happy for officers of my department to provide a verbal briefing on this bill to any member of the Assembly who would like one. Please contact my office in the first instance. Obviously any briefing would need to occur between now and Thursday afternoon. I commend the Rates Amendment Bill 2005 to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Mulcahy) adjourned to the next sitting.

Executive Contracts

Papers and statement by minister

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs): For the information of members I present pursuant to sections 31A and 79 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 copies of contracts in accordance with the list circulated.

Long-term contracts:

Peter Garrison (2), dated 1 January and 8 April 2005.

Shane Gilbert, dated 5 April 2005.

Short-term contracts:

Brett Phillips, dated 23 December 2004.

David Collett, dated 22 April 2005.

Diane Spooner, dated 10 January 2005.

Diane Spooner.

Gordon Davidson, dated 31 March 2005.


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