Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3209 ..
MS MacDONALD (continuing):
existing exemptions will expire in 2004 and more than half will expire in 2005, a strong case can be made for commencing a process which will lead to the phasing out of these exemptions by 2006.
I look forward to the contributions of other members in this debate and I also look forward to seeing this become the first step in the next part of the evolution. Mr Speaker, I am assuming that any opponents of the motion will talk about the negative effects on the hospitality industry and people's right to have a smoke-and all the other usual things, including the tough regulations already in place. The fact is that workers and patrons are not protected and we need to take further steps to ensure a better and healthier environment for many workers-in fact, for all workers.
Even if you do oppose a total smoking ban, you should be able to support this motion. By recognising the flawed premise which the current legislation is based on, that is AS1668.2, you can lend your support to the motion and ensure that even my less preferred option of tougher ventilation options is pursued. I would like to see a ban, and the sooner the better, but I urge all members to look at the detail of the motion, avoid the emotion and get this motion through.
I commend the motion to you.
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 11.59 am to 2.30 pm.
Questions without notice
Land tax-family trusts
MR HUMPHRIES: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, you will recall that the Assembly passed your government's Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 on 27 August. This legislation, inter alia, extended the land tax base and increased the rate at which land tax is imposed. When you announced the decision to make these changes, you noted that appropriate action would be taken to "minimise any unintended or adverse impacts". In the Assembly on 27 August you commented that the government was attempting "to make sure people do not abuse the system with companies or trusts owning properties, simply as tax avoidance devices".
Treasurer, we are now aware that there are some people who apparently are using legal entities such as family trusts to live in their family home but who clearly do not fit the description of the government's target of these changes to the land tax regime. In many cases these families have resided under those provisions for decades. I am advised that these days family trusts provide no tax advantages for the ownership of family homes.
Why then have you refused to grant exemptions to people whose family homes, that is where they live, are owned by family trusts? How is it fair that land tax should be imposed on one family while the next door family pays none?
MR QUINLAN: I do not have a recollection of refusing any application for relief for a family home.