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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3409..

MR MULCAHY (continuing):

spread between 2007 and 2010 is to help mitigate the overall negative revenue impact of their removal over the forward years. It is expected, however, that the ever-increasing revenues received from GST should more than compensate for the revenue lost from the abolition of these territory-based duties. In fact, the deal made with the Australian government was that the ACT and the other Australian states and territory would enjoy a guaranteed source of steady and growing revenue from GST tax receipts in exchange for reforming and reducing locally derived taxes, rates and charges. In spite of this particular bill, the territory government is ignoring its broader responsibilities and actually attempting to increase its overall tax take from the territory.

In summary, the bill amends the Duties Act 1999 to reflect the revised taxation regime that has been agreed by the states, territories and commonwealth under the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Reform of Commonwealth-State Financial Relations. In spite of the ACT's tardiness in comparison to its state and territory counterparts in eliminating these duties, the bill is a positive step towards reducing the tax burden on ACT individuals and businesses. Furthermore, the negative revenue impact that is expected through to 2011 from the abolition of these three duties should be more than compensated by the ever-growing revenues received from GST. Bearing this in mind, the opposition supports this bill.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (10.50): Mr Speaker, I will be supporting the Duties Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2). Despite the manner in which the federal agreements over GST were made, I accept that the removal of duties regarding the hire of goods, lease instruments and unquoted marketable securities must take place. In view of the speech that has just been made by Mr Mulcahy, we appear to have a representative of the federal government in our Assembly.

I note that the government expects to lose $27.8 million in revenue by 2011 as a result of this bill and that the ACT will not be receiving a greater share in GST. I appreciate that in future the government intends to make any provisional regulations regarding the changes through disallowable instruments, and I am pleased about this democratic process. However, the Greens are somewhat sceptical about the manner in which the government will be able to prevent arrangements from being made which attempt to defer transactions to beyond the repeal date so as to avoid the duties payable. I understand that the compliance team within the revenue commission will ramp up its activities around the changeover dates and examine relevant contracts for dates of agreement and dates of payment. But there may be many instances where they are unable to detect a deferral in order to avoid duty, so I wish the government luck in this endeavour.

The Greens are also a little sceptical about the keenness for a lessor to pass on the removal of duty to its lessee. I note that the revenue commission will conduct an educational campaign to make sure consumers are aware of the withdrawal of duty, and I wish the government luck in this endeavour also. I would also like to give my thanks to the revenue commission for its briefing. The staff are always a pleasure to have in the office and we are greatly appreciative of their honest and apolitical advice, which is always of huge assistance to us.

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