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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2947 ..


This is generating a wave of uncertainty leading to a mad rush for valuations and lodgement of applications causing significant delays and inconvenience in advance of the new system.

That is the process that we have at the moment. We have seen this mad rush, as described by Stuart Collins from the HIA. Then we have asked about costs under codification. Ms Gallagher has said in this place—and this is where a lot of the uncertainty lies, not just about whether there will be codification, not just about how much they will levy—that the increasing cost associated with codification is not significantly greater than what is outlined in the budget papers. What she is saying is that the $50,000, $60,000, $30,000 and $40,000 per unit that they are proposing to levy through codification are effectively being levied now. We need clarification on that as well. We need clarification on this point: what is the approach now, this new approach? How much per unit would a developer expect to pay? These are questions that have not been answered.

We can go through all of the different groups that have expressed concern. The Independent Property Group said:

The logic to determine these numbers appears to fail simple mathematics, and appears not to have taken into consideration the significant costs and lengthy delays a developer does ordinarily experience as they negotiate the planning system, public consultation and a possible ACAT appeals process.

The Australian Property Institute said:

It is becoming apparent that as the proposed system evolves there is a philosophical shift from capturing the value increment resulting from Crown Lease variations to a system of taxing development and urban renewal.

And that is another part of this debate: what impact will this have on urban renewal? I look forward to the wannabe-Treasurer, Mr Barr, getting up and telling us: “Actually, this will be a good thing for intensification. We will see more units on the back of this.” It is like the arguments that we see federally from the Labor Party that by slapping a big tax on the mining industry there will be more mining.

We are going to hear the same from this government—that by slapping a big tax on development, particularly on units, we are going to see more units. Well, no, that is not generally how it works. If you put massive taxes on things, it tends to act as a disincentive to development and, if anything, you will get less. Will you get none? No. Some will be able to wear the cost. But what kind of units will we get at the end of that? It will encourage developers to focus only on delivering high-end products. If you are going to have to absorb, to cop, taxes of around $50,000 or more per unit, you are surely going to be more inclined to deliver a higher-end product.

So what we need is some certainty. That is what this motion asks for; it asks for information. I am surprised by what the Greens have circulated, and I would ask them to reconsider the amendment that they have circulated, because what, effectively, this motion does is simply ask for information from the government. It is information that industry is crying out for. It is information that would reasonably inform this debate.


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