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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3430 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Copies of early drafts of the Bill have been provided to key industry and community bodies to ensure that they are aware of any changes that may affect their members and the community. Representations were received recently from local ACT business groups on the impact of the Bill and I would like to foreshadow some amendments to the Bill.

The first relates to the potential impact of the aggregation provisions on builders, in particular, the purchase of multiple blocks of land from a developer. If strictly applied, as in New South Wales, stamp duty would be assessed at a higher rate of duty on the total combined value of individual blocks rather than at a lower rate applied to each separate block purchased. I have asked the Commissioner for ACT Revenue to work with the industry to ensure that suitable administrative and legislative solutions are found before the Bill is debated to overcome any unintended effects on the building industry of this anti-avoidance provision.

The second issue relates to the rate of duty which is imposed on the transfer of business assets, being goodwill, intellectual property and statutory licences. The rate set in the Bill, in line with New South Wales, is the conveyance rate of duty. The current rate is the lower marketable security rate. Representations have been received that this will impact particularly on ACT small businesses. The ACT Government will continue to work with the business sector on appropriate amendments to the Bill to minimise this adverse impact.

To ensure that the ACT community is fully aware of this legislation, copies of the Duties Bill and the Duties (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill, and contact numbers for the Revenue Office, are available on the Revenue Office's home page for perusal by interested persons. Public information seminars are also planned to take place closer to the date of commencement. While the tax reform focus is currently on the Commonwealth Government's proposed GST, this Bill is important for the ACT because uniform duties legislation will provide a significant benefit to taxpayers, particularly those who operate across State and Territory borders.

Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan) adjourned.


MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.59): Mr Speaker, I present the Duties (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 1998 together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

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