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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 5036 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

There is a fundamental misunderstanding of how the government deliver the wonderful range and array of services in the ACT. We are committed to delivering these services and they are very much part and parcel-a feature-of the social plan. They are driven through economic development and industry stimulation which are at the heart of the economic white paper. This is a fantastic paper. It is a rigorous and excellent piece of work which will stand the test of time and produce the goods.

We will not have to wait years and years to see the immediate benefits of some of the initiatives that have been advanced as a result of the work that has been done by this government over the last two years and that have now been given a place in this excellent piece of work. It is interesting in terms of the community response to this paper to see that the carping criticism of this fantastic piece of work has come from the Liberal Party, the Greens, the Democrats and the chamber of commerce. No other industry group has slated or criticised it. Every other industry group has supported it but for the chamber of commerce. Surprise, surprise!

Nobody is surprised at the criticism of this report by the chamber of commerce. It refused to make a submission and then criticised the lack of content-after refusing to participate. We have been presented with an interesting group of travellers in the Liberals, the Greens, the Democrats and the chamber of commerce.

This is a report, a strategy, that has been broadly embraced by the broader business community. Go and speak to them. Ask them what they think of this report. Ask them whether they think this is the first bit of serious work that has ever been done in the ACT and whether they are proud of it.

MR SPEAKER: The time allotted for the debate has expired.

Mr Smyth: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Chief Minister just said that the ACT Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry did not put a submission in for this white paper, and yet it is listed on page 94 of the submissions received.

MR SPEAKER: That is not a point of order, Mr Smyth. Resume your seat.

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2003 (No 3)

Debate resumed.

MS DUNDAS (4.34): The ACT Democrats will be supporting the bill put forward today. We see it as a piece of machinery legislation that clears up ambiguities or admissions in two pieces of taxation legislation. The first issue of concern, however, with the bill is the use of retrospective legislation to backdate the changes to the Rates and Land Tax Act to remove any ambiguities in the position of land tax on units.

The Democrats generally dislike the use of retrospective legislation, especially when it places responsibilities on people that they could not have been aware of at the time. However, we believe that, despite being retrospective, this amendment is unlikely to cause anyone much alarm it as it only confirms the existing land tax regime that has been in place over the last 12 years.

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