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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . . Page.. 1929..

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: could this be construed as anticipating debate by anticipating what Mr Stefaniak may or may not say in his address-in-reply?

MR SPEAKER: If that were the case, I would have disallowed Mr Stefaniak's question.

Mrs Dunne: The answer is anticipating debate. The question did not anticipate debate.

MR STANHOPE: I make this point seriously because it is important that, having now changed leaders again, to present an apparent fresh face, a fresh set of views and a fresh vision, the new leader be given this opportunity today, his first significant opportunity, to present a fresh vision, a new focus and a new direction for the territory-the direction which the alternative government would propose to take were they in government. We await with interest that visionary statement and expression from Mr Stefaniak today.


MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, your 2006-07 budget overview states:

... due to the dominance of the public service within the ACT labour market, the ACT has significantly higher per capita payrolls than the Australian average but below per capita payroll collections, due to the inability to tax the Australian Government ... contributing to the territory's ... below average capacity to raise revenue ...

Treasurer, why do you assert that the ACT's expected receipt of commonwealth grants worth $1.2 billion in 2006-07, over $65 million more than the 2005-06 estimates, are insufficient compensation for the payroll tax that the ACT misses out on due to commonwealth government exemptions?

MR STANHOPE: It is important that we understand the basis on which the territory government's capacity to raise revenue is affected by the fact that the most significant employer and, I think, the most significant landholder or landlord in the territory is the federal government. It is quite right, as the shadow Treasurer asserts, that the commonwealth government is constitutionally exempt from the payment of taxes, fees or charges that might be imposed by a territory or state government.

It is very significant that the largest payroll within the territory is exempt from payroll tax. We have a very narrow revenue base within the territory. We are a small jurisdiction. We have the narrowest revenue base and source of revenue of any place in Australia. We have no secondary industry. We have no primary industry to talk about. The most significant source of primary production in dollar terms in the territory is the Parkwood egg farm.

The single largest primary producer-responsible, I think, for almost half of the ACT's primary industry production in terms of value-is a chook farm. That is the extent or worth of the primary industry which is produced in the territory. Fifty per cent or thereabouts of our primary industry is incorporated into a single chook farm. We have limited manufacturing industry. We are the head of government. We are a service town.

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