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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 September 2018) . . Page.. 3876 ..


rates and land tax calculations for units and then develop and publish an options paper for possible future changes.” That is included in this report as a footnote.

I think that going back to the previous system is better than continuing with the current system. But, one way or another, there is agreement amongst the four members of this committee, agreement from both the Labor and Liberal members of this committee, that a change is required. The current system is not right.

Of course, this is a system that the opposition voted against. It is a system that we raised concerns about at the time. Those concerns have turned out to be true. In a nutshell, in times gone by the government would divide the value of a complex and then calculate it. Now it calculates it and then divides it. The impact is pretty much that every unit in Canberra is at the top marginal ratings factor when it comes to the calculation of rates and land tax. This is wrong. We do not have a progressive ratings system in the ACT when it comes to units and apartments.

I commend this report to the Assembly. But, more importantly, I commend the report to all the people that made substantial contributions to the inquiry. Many of the people that submitted put in very detailed commentary about their personal circumstances but also broader analysis about the impact that the government’s changes have had on the ACT residential sector. I think it is a very important piece of work that has been done. I very much hope that the government takes it on board and releases a discussion paper or an options paper as quickly as possible so that we can get a much better policy outcome for the thousands of people in Canberra that live in units and apartments.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.26): I very much welcome this report. Of course, it has only just come out, so I am speaking only on the basis of six recommendations and the discussion so far. But on the basis of that, thank you very much to the PAC for this report. It is time to recognise that we have problems with our rates system. I believe these problems are more extensive than just the issues with units, and that is why I put out a discussion document on keeping rates fair.

Units are only part of the problem. One of the things with units as to why they are significantly part of the problem is that, whatever you might say about units, there is no simple way of working out what the land value for a unit is. If you are in an apartment on the sixth floor of a 15-storey tower, what is the value of your land? It just does not make sense. You may be talking about the value of your airspace, so that is inherently problematic. How do we get some sort of relativity between houses and units?

Another problem we have had lots of emails about—I imagine there were a lot of submissions on this subject—is low income people in older suburbs where the value of the land has gone up but their income has not gone up. Last year we asked the government to do more reporting on this subject. They did a spreadsheet which revealed that a single aged pensioner in an older suburb like Garran could be paying over 14 per cent of their income on rates, which is a problem. For the median-income household paying median rates it is about 1.7 per cent of income, which reveals the huge discrepancy.


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