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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 February 2010) . . Page.. 37 ..


MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (12.05): The Greens will be supporting this amendment bill as we understand that these amendments will provide greater clarity for those who are eligible for the first home owner grant and for taxpayers in general regarding issues surrounding overpaid tax. I thank the Treasurer and the department for the briefing recently.

The first amendment to the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 seeks to clarify that a reviewable decision by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue is, indeed, open to review and so removes any confusion regarding what course of action is available to those seeking to challenge a decision by the commissioner under the First Home Owner Grant Act.

The second amendment allows for a greater extension of time, from 12 months to 18 months, for applicants to apply to the commissioner for an extension or exemption from the six-month continuous residency requirement. This will allow a greater flexibility for those who, for unforeseen reasons, cannot meet the residency requirement.

The third amendment regarding the first home owner grant also allows greater flexibility in cases where a grant application is made by joint applicants and that not all those applicants are able to meet the residency requirements. This allows the commissioner to exempt the non-complying applicants, provided that at least one applicant can comply.

The last amendment in this bill relates to the Taxation Administration Act 1999. This change will cap the time limit in which a taxpayer may apply to the commissioner for a refund of tax paid. The time limit will now be set at five years, which is in line with other jurisdictions.

The Greens welcome these changes which will increase flexibility and clarify arrangements for first home owner grant recipients and taxpayers.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (12.07), in reply: I thank Mr Smyth and Ms Hunter for their support for this bill. As other members have discussed, the amendments contained in this bill are fairly straightforward amendments to the First Home Owner Grant Act and the Taxation Administration Act.

The first amendment to the First Home Owner Grant Act replaces the term “reviewable decision” in section 31 of the act with “a decision of the commissioner under section 29”. A reviewable decision is a decision by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue in relation to an objection by an applicant for the first home owner grant. This amendment points to section 29 of the act, which states that the commissioner must consider an objection and either disallow it or allow it in whole or in part. Any decision made under section 29 of the act is appealable in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Where first home owner grant applicants cannot meet the residency requirements, the First Home Owner Grant Act currently allows applicants a period of 12 months to apply to the commissioner for a shortened residency period, an exemption from the


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