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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1779..

And over the coming years, my government will abolish several business taxes. Already, a number of local taxes have been abolished in fulfilment of the intergovernmental agreement. In coming years-starting as early as 1 July this year-a number more are to be abolished.

Under a schedule agreed to by the federal Treasurer, the territory will eliminate taxes that will see my government forgo approximately $21 million across the budget years-rising to more than $14 million a year, once the final taxes are abolished in 2010.

From 1 July, non real estate business conveyances will be abolished-the legislation has already passed this Assembly. Stamp duty on credit arrangements, instalment purchase agreements and rental arrangements will be abolished by next July. Stamp duty on leases will go by 1 July 2009. Stamp duty on non-quotable market securities will go by July 2010.

But such reforms as these make it all the more necessary to look afresh at revenue.

Mr Speaker, the closing of the fiscal gap between expenditure and revenue starts now.

This budget introduces a range of revenue measures that will enable governments now, next year and into the future, to continue to provide a higher-than-average level of services to the people of Canberra, but to do so without mortgaging the future.

From now, the fees and levies we impose must more accurately reflect the true cost of providing services.

From now, Canberrans will be encouraged to understand the connection between the money they contribute to government, and what they get back.

Labor has made an extraordinary investment in emergency services over recent years, with an increase in annual expenditure of 46 per cent on funding of emergency services since 2001-02. We had little choice in the matter. Nature, in her most disastrous form, forced our hand. But the investment-the continuing investment-costs the community dearly.

That is why, consistent with every other jurisdiction except the Northern Territory, a fire and emergency services levy will be introduced, to be imposed through the rating system. This levy will raise $20 million a year.

The existing ambulance levy will be increased from 1 January 2007, raising $3.3 million.

Mr Speaker, at the municipal level, currently there is an imbalance between revenues and expenditures. General rates in 2006-07 will increase by six per cent and will be indexed at the wage price index, rather than CPI.

This measure will raise extra revenue of $10.4 million in 2006-07, $5 million a year of which will be reinvested in increased maintenance. This will be increased to $10 million per annum in 2007-08.

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