Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 (19 October) . . Page.. 3359..
MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):
office cleaners, it will eventually encompass all industry workers. Even our national anthem supports the idea of wealth for toil. (Time expired.)
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, and Minister for the Arts) (6.11): Mr Speaker, I express my regret at holding up the Assembly, but there are a number of issues that I would like to address today. One, and I think most significantly, is the difficulty which the shadow Treasurer has had with his facts in relation to land tax. Just yesterday the shadow Treasurer informed us that he was boggled by land tax figures. Indeed, we can see from a release of his today that he certainly is boggled, not just in mind but in his facts as well.
In fact, an appropriate new title for the shadow Treasurer might be Boggles Mulcahy. I do recall Gareth Evans gloried in the name of Biggles for many years, Biggles Evans, and we have in the Assembly in all his glory Boggles Mulcahy, boggled in facts and boggled in mind. Today, Mr Mulcahy, in I think the most remarkable display of ignorance ever by a shadow Treasurer, completely misconstrued and misrepresented the way in which land tax is computed. His arithmetic really cannot be as bad as is expressed in his press release today. It must be a result of a complete and total misunderstanding of the way in which land tax is computed.
In his release, Mr Mulcahy suggests that the land tax on a median house price of $386,000 would be $5,411. Mr Mulcahy seems to believe that land tax is computed on median house prices, not on the unimproved value of the land. Of course, you would imagine or see immediately the enormous difference that this involves. In fact, the land tax that Mr Mulcahy quotes in his release of $5,411, in order to be computed, would be the land tax on a piece of land with an unimproved land value of around half a million dollars. Indeed, $479,000 would be the value of the land that would attract a land tax of $5,411, not a combined land and house value of $386,000, as quoted by Mr Mulcahy.
Can you get more off track than that? Can you be more boggled than that in terms of your understanding? It is not just that his numbers are wrong, that it is some little slip up, that he looked at the wrong line. He seeks to compute land tax on house prices and values, not on unimproved land value. So, in the context of this debate which we have engaged in over the last few days about the Liberal Party's attitude to land tax and the very clear message which we are getting from the shadow Treasurer that a Liberal Party in government would abolish land tax, I think it is important that we redirect Boggles Mulcahy to how it is computed and what the facts are.
Indeed, this $5,411 land tax bill that he attributes to a median house price of $386,000 is so far from the truth. The average land tax on a residential property in the ACT is $1,300. The only blocks of land in the ACT that would attract land tax of that order are in Mugga Way and O'Malley, I would think. I do not know how many investment properties there are in Mugga Way or O'Malley, but they are obviously of great concern to Mr Mulcahy.
I would also like to respond to the continuing irony of the shadow Treasurer objecting to the quantum of the surplus. The surplus certainly has reduced this year as a result of the