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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 May 2021) . . Page.. 1402 ..

old standalone houses in the inner north and inner south. They will be where we get most of the traction, but even then the positive outcome is not great.

What we are really seeking here is for landlords to come to the party with a heart and say, “I would like to offer my house to the market as an affordable rental, understanding that if I enter this scheme it is not going to make money for me. I am not going to make an additional profit out of it and in some cases I am not going to make a profit at all.”

Just 10 or 12 kilometres away, thousands of mum-and-dad investors are bringing rental properties to market without paying a single cent of land tax. They are benefiting from the New South Wales land tax threshold. The big difference is that they are not forced to offer their properties to market at 75 per cent or less of market rent. If we are looking at it on a macro level, their presence in the market in such great numbers is one of the things that brings the rental market down to a more sensible level, at least in some jurisdictions over the border—not all; there are serious problems in many rental markets in Australia.

I felt I had to make that point. Credit to this government for making this adjustment. Let us do what we can to encourage more take-up of it and let us not kid ourselves into believing that the relatively small numbers in the scheme thus far are somehow an endorsement of government policy on rates and land tax.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (4.40), in reply: I have introduced a number of revenue legislation amendment bills in my career in this place. Not all of them have been unanimously supported. I thank Mr Cain, Mr Parton, Ms Vassarotti and everyone who has indicated their support for this legislation.

We will routinely undertake reviews of revenue legislation to ensure that we maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the territory’s tax laws. As colleagues have spoken about, the bill achieves a number of these important ends, including improving housing affordability and providing better housing outcomes for the community, in addition to the range of other amendments that have been touched on in my introductory speech and by other speakers.

I cannot let Mr Parton’s comments go without stating that he has illustrated my point in his remarks. Were government rates and land taxes the decisive factor, then the situation in New South Wales and the take-up of this scheme would indicate that you would have a massive impact: no-one would want to rent a property in the ACT; everyone would want to rent properties in New South Wales as landlords and everyone would rush to take advantage of a zero land tax option.

That is obviously not the case—nor will it ever be the case—because there are a range of other factors that impact on the market rent for a particular product. They include the location of the property, the size of the property and the quality of the property.

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