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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3052 ..

MR CORNWELL (continuing):

In spite of Mr Quinlan's comments about how first home owners are being ripped off and the grants are being passed on to builders, what do you think an increase in land tax of 16 per cent is going to do? It will be passed on by landlords to those renting. There is no change in that; it is the same as Mr Quinlan's comments about builders, et cetera, taking up the first home owners grants. Either that or it will make investors get out of the market if they cannot make up the difference. It is no wonder that housing affordability in the ACT under the current government's policies is the worst it has ever been.

The community is still waiting, Mr Wood, for an answer on what your people did in relation to the commissioning of a committee to look into housing affordability, which I understand reported last October. I would hope that you will join this debate, Mr Wood, and answer some of these points. The fact is that both a house and a car, the two most important possessions most of us have, have been ripped off under Labor.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage) (4.27): Mr Cornwell invited me to come into the debate and I am delighted to do so. Mr Cornwell spoke for 10 minutes and did not issue many figures; he spoke in generalities. One figure he did give was about a 22 per cent increase in stamp duty. He said that there had been a 22 per cent increase in stamp duty. That is not right. There has been increased revenue collection from stamp duty, but there has not been an increase in stamp duty. There were some minor changes and a bit of equalisation going on, but there was not a 22 per cent increase in stamp duty; so Mr Cornwell was wrong.

One would have thought that, in a debate like this, Mr Cornwell would have access to a whole stack of figures, but they were not provided. The best figure we could get was from Mr Pratt, who said that there was something like $48,000 of ACT taxes in the cost of buying or acquiring a new house or building a new house. In fact, on an average house price of $280,000, the stamp duty on conveyancing is $8,500, I do not know where the rest would come from. Where would the rest come from?

Mrs Dunne: It is the stamp duty on the sale of land, the stamp duty on the transfer of land, the stamp duty on the house and land package.

MR WOOD: That is the cost of it. Let's look at the figures. Let me demolish Mr Smyth's argument and Mr Cornwell's argument by using simple figures. I invite Mr Cornwell to pay attention. In 1999-2000, under the former Liberal government, the total tax collection was a massive $633,298,000. I invite you to write that down-$633,298,000. The next year, 2000-01, the pre-election year, there was a very considerable drop-surprise, surprise! Write down $581,451,000 as the total tax collection. There is some variation around these figures with GST.

Let's go to the first year of the Labor government. The figure went from $633 million to $581 million. In the first year of the Labor government it was $526,617,000. The claim is that we are a high-taxing government. I am afraid we do not tax you as much as the former Liberal government. Brendan Smyth was Treasurer there for a little time, was he not?

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