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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1626 ..

MR STANHOPE: I ask a supplementary question. Thank you for that answer, Minister. Mr Speaker, I wonder whether the Minister could tell the Assembly whether the departmental officer appointed to undertake an investigation into certain allegations relating to certain events at the Periodic Detention Centre was sacked last week. Will he reassure members that the sacking last week of the departmental officer inquiring into certain matters related to the Periodic Detention Centre was not related to his investigation of those allegations?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of any sacking of any individual either in relation to this particular issue or otherwise, but I will take Mr Stanhope's question on notice.

Goods and Services Tax

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. It follows on from a question asked by Mr Quinlan of the Opposition last week about the GST. Can the Chief Minister inform the parliament as to what the estimated impact of the Federal Government's tax reform package would be on the ACT economy?

Mr Berry: There will be an impact on poor people. What about on poor people?

MR HIRD: There is a lot of noise from Mr Berry over there. I am trying to ask a question, Mr Speaker.

Mr Berry: Tell us what the impact will be on poor people.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry will be the poorer for it if he continues to interject.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that one of the major issues for voters during this Federal election will be the issue of taxation. I have to say that it is not a new issue for State and Territory governments. Taxation has been an issue for many years already. The ACT, like every other jurisdiction, has been wrestling with the dual problems of Federal funding, a narrowing revenue base, and of course services such as health and education taking more and more revenue and requiring more and more expenditure. To add to that, we have ended up with some very interesting recent court decisions which have further undermined the States' and Territories' capacity to raise revenue, so when the Federal Government announces a new taxation policy this Government is naturally interested to see what impact this would have on our Commonwealth funding and on our economy.

Mr Speaker, to answer Mr Hird's question, I need to outline broadly what the Federal Government has proposed. In simple terms, the plan is for a goods and services tax to be introduced, offset by the abolition of wholesale sales tax. As well, up to nine State-based taxes will be abolished and there would be across-the-board reductions in personal income tax. According to advice that I have received from the Office of Financial Management, the cuts in income tax alone are estimated to put more than $200m back into the pockets of Canberra taxpayers - not an insignificant amount of money, I am sure you would agree.

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