Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1589 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
The government has examined the current tax base, the general share and capacity of various sectors to contribute to government revenue as well as the forecast economic indicators affecting future revenue collections.
The revenue initiatives announced in this budget today will assist the government in maintaining the revenue capacity needed to continue funding essential services and new spending priorities.
Mr Speaker, the new tax measures, while providing much needed funding, will not adversely affect the competitive nature of the ACT's taxation system. They have been designed to spread the burden of taxes fairly across the community, while ensuring that the impact will be minimised on small businesses and on low income groups such as pensioners.
From 1 July 2003 the current corporate reconstruction exemption will be changed to a concession based on 95 per cent of the duty payable. This is consistent with other jurisdictions that charge varying duty for corporate reconstruction. This initiative will primarily impact on large interstate and international corporations and will have only a minor impact on ACT businesses and employers.
Conveyance revenue from business activities will increase marginally in 2003-04. These transactions will now be charged at the same rate as conveyance duty, instead of lower concessional rates. This is in line with NSW, South Australia and Queensland.
The territory will, of course, have a threshold designed to minimise the impact of this initiative on small business. Where the value is less than $1 million, the rate of duty will remain at 60 cents per $100 or part thereof. This will ensure that the purchases of small family businesses will continue to benefit from the current low duties regime.
Mr Speaker, the government will also introduce a duty on secured loans. For a number of years most other states have charged duty on secured loans. The ACT has become a haven for companies wishing to borrow large sums of money without paying duty. The duty will effectively bring the ACT into line with most jurisdictions, albeit at a lower rate and a higher threshold.
This duty will operate on a similar basis to NSW and Victoria. While the NSW and Victorian frameworks attract duty on secured loans of any value undertaken for both residential and commercial assets, the territory duty will only apply to secured loans of $1 million or more undertaken for commercial dealings.
Mr Speaker, pay parking will be introduced in Barton. This is a positive step in the government's transport strategy, which is designed to provide incentives to encourage more efficient transport through modes other than private cars. A parking levy on commercial car spaces will also be introduced in 2004-05. Work will commence in 2003-04 to determine how to implement the scheme but shopping centres will be unaffected by the charge.
In comparison with many jurisdictions, the gambling industry has enjoyed a lower tax regime in the ACT and a somewhat privileged position. Accordingly, this budget