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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 688 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it has been Government policy to limit the increase in total rates revenue each year to the forecast CPI increase. The policy has been applied in setting rates for 1998-99, with total rates revenue budgeted for at $101.1m, compared to $97.8m in 1997-98 - an increase of 2.5 per cent. By definition, the reduction in land values means that the rating factor increases from that of 1997-98 in order to achieve the budgeted revenue target for 1998-99. The Bill also includes an adjustment to the fixed charge applying to properties within the city area - from $220 in 1997-98 to $240 in 1998-99.

The combination of the fixed charge component and the use of a three-year average valuation acts to reduce the large fluctuations that occurred when rates were based entirely on the application of a "rate in the dollar" to the annual valuation. Mr Speaker, without these elements there would have been considerably larger fluctuations in rates between suburbs in 1998-99. The other features of the rating system are unchanged from 1998-99, including the rates-free threshold of $19,000, the revenue targets of 85 : 15 for the residential and non-residential sectors respectively, and the existing concessional arrangements applying to rural properties. Mr Speaker, this Bill continues the work that commenced last year to improve the rating system that applies to about 115,000 rateable properties in the ACT. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan) adjourned.


MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.51): I present the Interactive Gambling Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to present the Interactive Gambling Bill 1998 to the Assembly, in recognition of our responsibility to ACT consumers in respect of interactive gambling. This responsibility has been met through the introduction of legislation to provide a regulatory regime for interactive gambling that ensures the highest standards of probity, integrity and player protection.

Internet gambling is already available in an unregulated manner throughout the world and, with more homes linking up to the Internet every day, the potential risks associated with playing unregulated games increase. The legislative framework currently in place is incapable of addressing the challenges of interactive gambling products. The ACT Government, along with other jurisdictions, is acknowledging that the Internet and the potential for interactive gambling will not disappear and require addressing in a responsible manner. Doing nothing and complete prohibition of interactive gambling are not realistic options.

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