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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1398 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

� the estimated total rates revenue for 2001-2002;

� the fixed charge;

� the average of the 1999, 2000 and 2001 unimproved land values; and

� limiting the total rates revenue target each year to the forecast increase in the Consumer Price Index.

For 2001-2002, rates revenue is budgeted at $109.1 m. This represents an increase of 2.25% in rates revenue from existing properties, reflecting the forecast increase in CPI for 2001-02 and also includes an estimate of rates revenue from new property growth in 2001-2002.

Municipal rates charges have been included in the Federal Treasurer's Division 81 Determination and are exempt from the Goods and Services Tax.

Mr Speaker, this bill includes an adjustment to the fixed charge which applies to properties within the City Area, from $280 in 2000-01 to $300 in 2001-02.

I have announced the Government's intention to increase the fixed charge to $320 in 2002-2003 to reach 40% of total rates revenue.

A gradual increase in the fixed charge reflects more closely a "user pays" principle, without causing major impact on individuals' rates bills. It distributes the rates more evenly according to the benefit received by property owners, by recognising the minimum fixed costs of providing essential services to each ACT property, regardless of its location or land value. The fixed charge also reduces the proportion of rates based on the property value, and, therefore, reduces the impact of movements in valuations from year to year.

The other features of the rating system for 2001-2002 are unchanged from 2000-2001, including the rate free threshold of $19 000 and the revenue targets of 85:15 for the residential and non-residential sectors respectively.

Mr Speaker, this Bill continues to improve the rating system that applies to around 120 000 rateable properties in the ACT. The combined changes to the fixed charge and the rating factors for 2001-2002 result in the best possible outcome for the largest number of ratepayers, and at the same time meet the revenue target required to provide municipal type services to ACT residents.

Mr Speaker, I commend this Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Utilities (Telecommunications Installations) Bill 2001

Mr Humphries , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (10.57): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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