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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 4 May 2006) . . Page.. 1261 ..

which payroll tax returns must be lodged from seven days to 21 days after the end of the relevant month.

Increasing the time period for lodgment of returns will ease that compliance burden on business with no real down side for the government. It would send a signal that the government is serious about doing something positive for business instead of hitting employers harder and harder or, as the former Treasurer said—and the current Treasurer is yet to disavow that comment—squeezing them until they bleed.

It is time for the government to demonstrate its bona fides to the other jurisdictions with which it is having discussions about extending the lodgment time for payroll tax returns. I commend the opposition’s amendments to the Assembly.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, and Minister for the Arts) (5.57): The government opposes the amendments. Indeed, to agree to these amendments would be to add to the red tape and confusion about regulation that the Liberal Party insists they are seeking to reduce. Every other jurisdiction in Australia but the Northern Territory currently has provisions consistent with the ACT’s.

For the ACT, as an island in New South Wales, with significant cross-border employment, to move away would create real confusion. Businesses working in New South Wales and the ACT would have two completely different provisions in relation to payroll tax. As Mr Smyth indicates, there have been discussions. The result of those discussions was a decision to leave well enough alone, to leave it as it is. With these amendments the Liberal Party would move away from that decision. The government will oppose the amendments.

Question put:

That amendments Nos 3 to 5 be agreed to.

The Assembly voted–

Ayes 6

Noes 9

Mrs Burke

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Barr

Mr Hargreaves

Mrs Dunne

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mr Pratt

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Mr Seselja

Dr Foskey

Mr Stanhope

Mr Smyth

Mr Gentleman

Question so resolved in the negative.

At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put.

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