Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 April 2008) . . Page.. 753 ..
government’s land tax effort. It has been a matter of some comment—and indeed media comment, letters to the editor et cetera—over the last week.
The latest assessment by the Commonwealth Grants Commission shows that the ACT’s land tax revenue-raising effort was at 100.88 per cent, in fact almost perfectly in line with—less than one per cent above—the national average, and well below the land tax levels of South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. At 100.88—that is at less than one per cent above the national average—we come in, in relation to land tax rates, at a lower level in terms of effort than the big states of Victoria and New South Wales, and of South Australia and Tasmania.
Indeed, the land tax rates in the ACT were lowered in 2005-06 and have remained unchanged since 2005-06. When the government came to office—and this is relevant—in 2001-02, the Commonwealth Grants Commission assessed the ACT’s land tax effort at 129.45 per cent, 30 per cent above the national average. When the Liberals were in power, the land tax effort in the ACT was assessed by the Commonwealth Grants Commission at 30 per cent above the national average. The land tax revenue effort of the Liberals in government was 129.45 per cent; under this government today, three weeks ago, it was assessed by the grants commission at 100.88 per cent, less than one per cent above the national average and lower than in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia.
In summary, or to answer the question: what does the commission’s most recent update, three weeks old, show about the ACT’s taxation effort—(Time expired.)
MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary question?
MS MacDONALD: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can the Treasurer advise the Assembly what the commission’s findings show about the level of service provision by the government?
MR STANHOPE: I thank the member for the question. Just as the Commonwealth Grants Commission provides an annual update in relation to revenue effort, it provides a similar update in relation to expenditure. The commission’s latest update shows, in relation to the provision of services in the ACT, that in 2006-07 the ACT’s level of service provision was around 122 per cent of its assessed need. So what the Commonwealth Grants Commission has shown in its latest update is that we tax at roughly the national average but we expend at 22 per cent above the national average. In other words, we provide the services at an assessed level of 122 per cent. In fact, the ACT continues, as it always has, to record the highest level of service provision of any jurisdiction in Australia. Of course, the community expects, and has a right to expect, that the government will continue to deliver high-quality services, and the government continues to so deliver.
One might ask: with taxation effort at within the norm of other jurisdictions, and service provision well above the norm, how does the equation get balanced? The answer lies in the efficiency of service provision within the ACT. You have to remember that embedded within our budget forward estimates, as a result of the decisions we took in 2005-06, are efficiency savings in the order of $100 million a