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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 4041 ..


Debate resumed from 26 September 1996, on motion by Mrs Carnell:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR WHITECROSS (Leader of the Opposition) (9.52): Mr Speaker, Labor supports this amendment Bill, which introduces a stamp duty on hiring arrangements and a new tax. Stamp duty will be levied on any arrangement - with some exemptions - under which goods are used by a person other than the owner on payment of a fee by the person who hires the goods. This will apply to commercial and non-commercial hirers, consistent with New South Wales and other jurisdictions. We believe it is appropriate that the ACT have a similar law and similar stamp duty.

The legislation closely follows the model put forward as part of a multijurisdictional stamp duty rewrite. I understand that there are some amendments coming from the Government which further harmonise us with what has been done in other jurisdictions. As a result, jurisdictions will have uniform laws, which of course minimises the opportunities for cross-border shuffling of these kinds of arrangements. Mr Speaker, there are some exemptions contained in the Bill, such as the exemption for people who enter into a lease as an alternative financing arrangement to borrowing in order to buy a good. Also, there are exemptions for hospitals, schools and charitable organisations.

Mr Speaker, this legislation will impose some additional compliance costs, of course, particularly on small business. I hope that the Government will provide the necessary assistance to businesses to meet their obligations and make it as easy as possible to comply with the regulations, which do impose new burdens on small business. There is also the phenomenon, which I am sure most members here are familiar with, that in many cases goods are hired in circumstances where people on lower incomes cannot afford to buy goods outright. It is unfortunate that it will increase the costs for some of those people. However, Mr Speaker, the policy benefits of this measure are such that the Labor Party will be supporting this Bill.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (9.55), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank members for their support for this piece of legislation. It is always difficult to bring in a new tax, but this tax is in line with New South Wales and with the national approach that is being taken.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

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