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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 106 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

I will be providing further information about this review in the near future. I trust the Assembly will understand the exceptional circumstances which have led to the delay in completing this project and in preparing the requested reports.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Duties Amendment Bill 2002 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 12 December 2002, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (3.50): Mr Deputy Speaker, I hope this is the right bill, for the right speech, at the right time. It was such a good read the first time, I might read it all again.

This bill is a technical one, emanating from the stamp duties rewrite project that was undertaken by the New South Wales, Victorian, South Australian, Tasmanian, and ACT governments. This project aimed to produce stamp duty legislation that was contemporary in language and presentation, simpler to administer and, where possible, consistent across participating jurisdictions.

Since the introduction of the Duties Act on 1 March 1999, several amendments have been made to the ACT, in line with amendments made to the New South Wales Duties ACT, to maintain these aims. This bill will continue that trend.

The bill appears to be innocuous, and both the Treasurer and the explanatory memorandum assure us that there will be no direct revenue or cost implications. Time will tell on that score.

The basic functions of the bill are to:

    extend duty exemption to the transfer of interests in shares or units quoted on the stock exchange;

    clarify the method of determining the dutiable value of certain business assets by ensuring that duty is now charged on the value of a business asset attributable to sales to territory customers;

    in prescribed circumstances, allow the commissioner to obtain the unencumbered value of a crown lease at the time it is granted;

    limit concessional rates of duty available for certain transactions to superannuation funds or trusts to where the transfer is from a trustee or custodian of a relevant fund;

    effect payment of duty only on the additional land where the regranted land includes all or part of the surrendered land;

    extend the prohibition on the registration of instruments where duty has not been paid to also apply to dutiable transactions, where they may not be an instrument, and to cases where the transfer is made by electronic means, and

    omit the duty exemption for the buy-back of shares so that an unlisted public company is not exempt.

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