Page 2225 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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about process, surely the minister could have had the courtesy to distribute them to members much earlier than this.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.22): Mr Speaker, my colleague Mr Quinlan suggests that I blame the acting minister, which I will not do. I should just point out to members that I was not here on 20 June. However, I take the member’s point. It would have been desirable to have these circulated earlier. I am happy to take that on board. As a rule, I seek to do that. However, I think I have been able to assure members as to the nature and extent of these amendments. I trust that members will find the explanation acceptable for the purposes of debate today and I commend the amendments to the Assembly.

Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 5 May 2005, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.24): Mr Speaker the opposition will be agreeing to this clean-up legislation that clarifies some of the issues in the current Revenue Legislation Act.

We note that some of the issues involved in the legislation relate to payroll tax. The government, when in opposition in 2001, committed to being a low taxing government understanding the value of having a low tax rate. When we were in government we started a process to raise the threshold of payroll tax paid in the ACT to, first, retain a competitive edge, and, second, take the burden of taxation off business, which we think is a good thing because it leads to a growth in the economy, which, of course, leads to a growth in government revenues.

When the Treasurer responds to members, I wonder whether he would be able to confirm that this will actually increase the government’s take from payroll tax, and, if so, how much that will be. I understand it is not a great amount. But in the spirit of not raising taxation, is it possible for the government to look at a way of minimising what would be a minor raising of the threshold; of minimising the impact of this legislation so that it is at least revenue neutral? I am sure we will hear from the Treasurer on that issue when he speaks to close debate on the bill.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.25): The Greens will support this bill. The Land Tax Act and the Rates Act, which it amends, are simply adjusted so that purely mechanical calculations can be made automatically by departmental officers rather than having to be worked out by the commissioner. The other technical amendment, which is to the Duties Act, simplifies exemptions to duties imposed on motor vehicle registration transfers.

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