Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 15 August 2018) . . Page.. 2953 ..
claims that the territory’s own-source revenue has grown by $400 million since 2012-13, representing a broken promise that the tax reform would be revenue neutral. This increase goes well beyond population and economic activity. Neither wages nor the territory’s welfare concessions have kept pace with this. Dr Ahmed also claims that if the government had maintained the same revenue to gross state product as in 2011-12, it would have received about $332 million less in revenue. Chief Minister, why has the government broken its promise about tax reform being revenue neutral?
MR BARR: The government has not broken its commitment in relation to tax reform, but we have seen a period of very strong economic growth for the territory. We have, in fact, been the fastest growing economy amongst all of the Australian states and territories. We have seen exceptionally strong growth particularly in new international investment in commercial property in the territory, and that has seen revenues increase. Particularly over the past few years, there were a couple of very significant commercial property transactions, including the sale of part—
Mr Coe: Did they pay stamp duty?
MR BARR: Yes. They included the sale of part of the Woden plaza shopping centre that attracted a very significant new investment partner. And there were a number of large commonwealth tenanted buildings that transacted during that period.
Mr Coe interjecting—
MR BARR: The rate of stamp duty for those commercial transactions is, of course, lower now than it was prior to tax reform—
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MR BARR: but there still remains a stamp duty on commercial property transactions, particularly very large ones.
Ms Cheyne: Madam Speaker—
MADAM SPEAKER: Chief Minister, can you resume your seat. Point of order.
Ms Cheyne: The constant interruptions are a pretty unbecoming way to start question time.
Mr Hanson: Oh—
MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you. There is no need for diddums inclinations there. I was about to about call you to order. Please be called to order.
MR BARR: Thank you, Madam Speaker. That is a totally new concept that has been introduced, but I feel it is very apt for those opposite. They have been sucking that one up for 17 years, haven’t they, Madam Speaker?