Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1872 ..
Also, such a system does not discriminate between suburbs of differing values, alleviating any fluctuations in property markets. I asked Mr Quinlan whether he had looked at this and he said it was much too expensive and it was not something he would look at. But the evidence that came to the community went counter to that. We know that there are such systems. We were told by one witness that the improved value system is used in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
One of the arguments against it, put by Mr Quinlan, is that it is too expensive. But it appears that those administration costs can be reduced through broadbanding, where the same rate applies to every property within a certain price bracket. Another witness said that it could be perceived as a tax on enterprise. But if you have the broadbanding I don't think that is so likely to be an issue.
It was an interesting inquiry in that the submissions were pretty well unanimous in expressing concerns about this legislation. The business community, the Council of Social Service and the Council on the Ageing were all in agreement that there are serious concerns with this. It is important for the government to rethink it. There are issues that have to be addressed about the rates system. In any tax-which is basically what this is-it is difficult to find a balance between efficiency and equity, but this proposal has failed and we need to look at it again. That is why we have recommended that further work be done.
We are prepared to look more widely, look at the question of improved value, look at how we can address the impact of market forces on the affordability of housing and look at environmental concerns. Is there potential to have a rating system that encapsulates that-a pricing signal to consumers about their impact on the environment? It is an opportunity for us to do more work on this, and for that reason I am supporting the recommendations of this inquiry, which do not support the passing of this bill but do support the need for further work.
MS MacDONALD(10.54): I rise to dissent from the recommendations of this report. I expressed my dissent within the committee certainly of the first recommendation. It may seem wrong to dissent from the second, third and fourth recommendations if I am recommending that the Assembly pass the Rates and Land Tax Amendment Bill 2003 since, if it is passed, there would be no need to review the rates system. That is why I am recommending that the Assembly reject all the recommendations. If the Rates and Land Tax Amendment Bill is rejected, as recommended by the majority of the committee, the need to look into the rates system will be evaluated by the Assembly.
This is my first dissenting report, Mr Speaker, so you will forgive me if I stumble a bit. As with the secretary of the committee, writing a dissenting report has been a learning process for me. There are a few reasons for my dissent from and my concerns about the majority report.
The first one is that the government has flagged that we will revert to the previous rating system as opposed to what we currently have-an interim system, which was introduced in 2002. The government has said that the reversion to the old system is a must and we cannot remain on the interim system, so we will be going back to the old system. That will mean that all of the problems in previous systems will remain, number one being the