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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 2846..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

take. I do not think there is much else that needs to be said on this that has not been said already. We might proceed with the vote.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 24 August 2006, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.04): First of all, I express my gratitude to the Treasurer and his staff for the cooperation and the ongoing briefing provided on this bill and for his people in the DLO making themselves available for follow-up queries. I must say there has been an improvement in briefings with Treasury since the change in that role. I appreciate that because it enables us to have constructive debate rather than cast around in the dark hoping that the matters we raise have been examined during framing of the legislation.

The Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2) proposes changes to the method of payment for dutiable transactions. These are largely positive and beneficial to the ways in which duties are obtained by the ACT Revenue Office. More specifically, the bill makes the following legislative changes: it amends the Duties Act 1999 to allow for the electronic lodgment and authorisation of duties, enabling users of the new electronic payment system to forgo lodging a written statement with the Commissioner for ACT Revenue, as has been required in the past; it extends the Taxation Administration Act 1999 to allow not only the individual taxpayer but also an approved person who acts on behalf of the taxpayer, such as a law firm, to keep and maintain appropriate records of tax liability; and it amends the relevant provisions so that cash payments for conveyancing duties are no longer accepted at an office of the Commissioner for ACT Revenue, enabling the ACT Revenue Office shopfront to be closed. According to advice provided by the government, this bill marks a shift away from front-office scrutiny of conveyancing transactions towards back-office auditing of transactions, which is possible because land conveyancing is a relatively simple transaction to check.

The government also believes that these new measures have the wholehearted support of the law society. However, I am advised that this is not entirely the case. From initial feedback from the chief executive of the Law Society of the ACT, Mr Larry King, I have been advised that the profession is inclined to theoretically agree with the changes being made to favour online payments. However, the mechanisms to be used to make this happen have not, in their opinion, been sufficiently explained. More specifically, Mr King has indicated that he believes that the direct debit mechanisms currently being suggested by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue are overly simplistic and somewhat

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