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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2011) . . Page.. 1795 ..

Community Council around the spend on infrastructure. So I think overall the message that we are getting back from the Canberra community is that within a pretty tight financial environment, within an environment where we are making attempts to return to surplus post the global financial crisis, we have been able to tick a number of boxes for a number of organisations. Yes, not everything to everybody, but I think overall the budget is always a balancing act. We on this side believe that, with some very good new programs and new infrastructure coming on board, we have got that balance right.

MS PORTER: Supplementary?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what is your response to the claims made by the Property Council, other industry players and those opposite regarding the lease variation charge remissions as obtained in the budget?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for the question. There has been a lot of comment and criticism around the changes to the lease variation charge in this budget and around the potential impacts that will have on housing affordability in the city. The government have considered this issue very carefully. We have spent over two years of work both in government with external experts supporting that work and with the property industry themselves talking with them around the move to codification of the old change of use charge.

Industry are seeking the certainty that codification offers and indeed some of the efficiencies that codification offers. The criticism I think comes from the amount of money that is contained in the schedules and how much of that should be borne by the property industry themselves. So in this budget we offer the property industry a 75 per cent remission on those charges, so, for example, on a unit that may have a $50,000 attached value that would be in the order of a $15,000 charge.

I hear what the Property Council are saying; we hear their concern. However, we believe this is another attempt to get the balance right, that we provide some transitional support as we move to full codification and a 25 per cent remission over a number of years to deal with the concerns the Property Council have made, but we believe this is the right thing to do for the community. What it will allow is a fair return—a fair return in the order of only $20-odd million a year. When you look at that against some of our other revenue lines, we can see what a very small part this is—less than one per cent of our own-source revenue from a lease variation charge—but what that income allows is for us to invest in projects like the ones that Ms Burch is doing. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, how much will the new lease variation charge contribute to rents in the ACT once fully implemented?

MS GALLAGHER: I think it is almost impossible to answer that question. As Mr Seselja would know, and as he would know from reading the two expert reports—

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