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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4382 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Mr Deputy Speaker, to remove any doubt about interpretation, this bill clarifies the provision to ensure land tax on units is worked out in accordance with the initial policy intention. This bill, therefore, contains amendments to provide a clear, equitable and administratively efficient solution to ensure that current practice and the legislation are in agreement.

These amendments commence from 1 August 1991, the earliest date that the changes to land tax liability may have introduced a lack of clarity in interpretation. This ensures that all past land tax charges on units are unchanged.

Members of the Assembly may be concerned that this is retrospective tax law. However, the proposed measure clarifies how land tax was imposed on units since the introduction in 1987 and does not impose any additional tax burden on taxpayers. If the proposed changes are not supported the tax amount under a different interpretation would be far greater than that imposed by the current practice.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the bill also amends the Taxation Administration Act to ensure that taxpayer information obtained under the 1987 Taxation (Administration) Act is protected. The Government Solicitor's Office has advised that the secrecy provisions contained in the 1987 Taxation (Administration) Act may not have been protected since this act was repealed in March 1999.

The purpose of this amendment, Mr Deputy Speaker, is to protect taxpayer information by precluding disclosure, including freedom of information disclosure, where requests are made after the commencement of this amendment.

Information is only protected if an act is in force. If an act containing secrecy provisions has been repealed, then an FOI application may allow the disclosure of the information obtained under the act. In addition, Mr Deputy Speaker, where there is no transitional provision to continue to protect the secrecy of information, it may have to be disclosed.

This bill provides the necessary transitional provisions to ensure that, although the 1987 Taxation (Administration) Act has been repealed, taxpayer information received under that act will be given the protection of the secrecy provision under the Taxation (Administration) Act.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I commend the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2003 (No 3) to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Building Bill 2003

Mr Corbell , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by clerk.

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