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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 96 ..

that this bill does not have this sort of impact. As Mr Coe also said, we support regular tidying up of legislation. We are happy to support this bill.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (5.18): I thank members firstly for their contribution to the debate, their support of the legislation and their forbearance in allowing this matter to come on this afternoon, as I was at a somewhat important event this morning that prevented me from being here for the debate. I thank members for their support of a bill that simplifies and improves the administration of the territory’s taxes, something that we can all agree on.

Various taxation acts of the territory, including the Duties Act 1999 and the Payroll Tax Act 2011, have been amended by this bill. It brings greater certainty and stability to the administration of the barrier-free conveyance duty model. For instance, certain dutiable transactions now do not need to be registered with the registrar-general. These transactions are not captured under the barrier-free model, where registration triggers the obligation to pay duty. The bill applies the pre-barrier-free conveyancing time frame to these types of transactions, as this time frame is more sensible. It provides clear distinctions between barrier-free and non-barrier-free transactions and ensures smooth and consistent operation of the territory’s conveyance model. It also makes it explicit and clear that the Commissioner for ACT Revenue is able to assess duty liabilities before duty becomes payable. This does not become payable until the property transfer is registered.

These amendments aim to encourage the registration of property transfers. Importantly, they will also reduce the risk of dispute about duty payment on a dutiable transaction that fails to be lodged for registration, thereby protecting the territory’s revenue. In addition, the bill introduces amendments to achieve a greater level of harmonisation in the payroll tax regime between the ACT and other jurisdictions. Having sat on perhaps more than my lifetime’s quota of these ministerial councils, I can say that harmonisation of payroll tax regimes is one of the greatest hits of the Council of Australian Governments. Any amendments that achieve a greater level of harmonisation are, I am sure, welcomed by businesses that operate across borders.

The Payroll Tax Act will be amended to implement commonwealth changes to the exempt rate for motor vehicle allowance by adopting New South Wales’s definition of the exempt rate. This will benefit employers operating in both the ACT and New South Wales by providing a more consistent administrative arrangement. Hallelujah for that.

Lastly the bill amends the legislation to update references and correct errors. We, of course, want no errors, so correcting them is a good thing. And it repeals provisions for schemes that have ceased operation or have not been actively used. This improves the clarity and the quality of the ACT’s taxation legislation and ensures the legislation effectively supports the current administrative practices of government. It also ensures that tax legislation is kept up to date and reflects the current practices of both ACT taxpayers and the ACT Revenue Office. In conclusion, it complements the essential changes introduced by the revenue collection transformation program and

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