Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2949 ..
MS HUNTER: Thank you, Madam Assistant Speaker. What they are doing here is trying to get a government response to the dissenting report and effectively saying they do not support the committee process. Not just the estimates process, but the committee process generally.
The government has agreed to the estimates committee recommendations in regard to the change of use charge. The purpose of any committee report is to report to the parliament on the merits of a proposal and, where appropriate, to provide a recommendation for improvements or ancillary action on the matter at hand. This is exactly what has occurred, and that is why I am disappointed that the Liberals are not prepared to wait for the outcome of that process.
That is where in the estimates report we do go to recommendation 2. Recommendation 2 actually states that the committee recommends that the Treasurer table in the Assembly a report into why the change of use charge was incorrectly applied and what steps have been taken to correct the error. That recommendation was agreed to by the government.
Then we go on to recommendation 3. The committee recommends that an evaluation of the impacts of the change of use charge be undertaken as part of the codification of the change of use charge process, to ensure that it does not create an unreasonable barrier to urban densification. Again, this recommendation, No 3, was also agreed to in the government’s response.
I will go through a few issues that were raised in Mr Seselja’s motion and a bit of an explanation as to why the Greens do not support the particular statements in it—apart from the fact that the language is a little poor in places and it does have a lot of hyperbole.
If we go to 1(b) of Mr Seselja’s motion—this is on the issue of “tax on housing”—we heard from Treasury official, Mr Ahmed. He said during the estimates hearing that the charge could be passed on in three ways—three different ways—and that he could not assign a proportion to any of the three possibilities. I am not aware of any evidence to suggest that there is a particular allocation to purchasers, which appears to be the premise of the statement here in Mr Seselja’s motion. If anything, I would think that the market price of the house is the greatest determinant and that to a significant extent the developers will have to absorb the charge. However, I would be very interested to read any evidence that properly addresses the issue.
If we go down to 1(e) of Mr Seselja’s motion here, which is talking about the government seeking to codify the charge, which is absolutely true, and then (f) and (g), which talk about some uncertainty in the industry and so forth, to the best of my knowledge the industry have been participating in the codification consultations and discussions and, to a significant extent, have been receptive to codification, as it provides them with certainty and it moves away from the valuation process. I would be very pleased to have further representations from people in the industry on the issue of codification.