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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3633 ..

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 (No 2)

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Recreation and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (12.17): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 (No 2) makes minor and technical amendments to three acts administered by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue-the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000, the Payroll Tax Act 1987, and the Rates and Land Tax Act 1926.

Members may recall that the first home owners scheme was implemented as part of the intergovernmental agreement on the reform of Commonwealth/state financial relations. Mirror legislation was enacted in each jurisdiction for the administration of this national scheme. However, the ACT's First Home Owner Grant Act has an omission; it does not preclude a person from receiving a grant if, after 1 July 2000, they have purchased and lived in a property prior to the subsequent acquisition of property for which they seek to apply for a grant. The proposed amendments to the First Home Owner Grant Act will bring the ACT's administration of the Commonwealth's first home owners scheme into line with other jurisdictions.

Mr Speaker, the Payroll Tax Act provides a two-year tax exemption on wages paid to staff who, immediately prior to commencing employment, had been unemployed for 12 months or more and had been receiving an allowance with respect to that unemployment under the Social Security Act 1991. The amendment to the Payroll Tax Act does not alter this policy objective. It merely reflects the Commonwealth's repeal of the requirement for unemployment registration with the Commonwealth Employment Service, CES. This bill will remove a reference to the CES in the Payroll Tax Act.

Mr Speaker, this bill amends the Rates and Land Tax Act in two respects. Firstly, the bill will enable the determination of fees by a disallowable instrument for the issue of conveyancing certificates and statements of account. These fees are currently imposed by an administrative order. However, this amendment will provide the Legislative Assembly with the opportunity to approve the level of fees for providing these services.

Secondly, the bill removes an obsolete term in the Rates and Land Tax Act, namely, the term "city area". As a related measure, this bill will consolidate the current rating system so that the level of rating for properties will be dependent on whether they are leased or used for residential, commercial or rural purposes. This is in contrast with the current method of ascertaining whether a property is located inside or outside the defined city area. For example, instead of applying the rural rate to properties located outside the city area, the bill applies the rural rating factor to all properties within the ACT that are leased and used primarily for the purposes of primary production.

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