Page 4953 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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Again we can look at the economic performance and the failures of this government. We have seen the profligate spending of this government and we have seen a budget that has grown from $2.2 billion to $2.8 billion this year, and what we have from this Treasurer is yet another proposal to put his hand deeper into the pockets of the people of Canberra to take their hard-earned cash.

In general terms, this bill is reasonable. The proposal to change the way in which certain motor vehicles will be valued for duty purposes, however, is not good public policy. It has all the hallmarks of a policy that seemed like a good idea at the time. The Treasurer, in introducing this bill, claimed that this proposal would reduce compliance costs, create administrative efficiencies for government and increase certainty for taxpayers. As Mr Mulcahy has explained to the Assembly, this process does not increase certainty. It does not reduce administrative complexity; on the contrary, there will be increased complexity because there will be now two systems for paying this tax, not one. There will be a duty on motor vehicles not previously registered in the ACT for which there is a list price. For those vehicles not previously registered in the ACT for which there is no list price, however, the current policy will remain.

It is clearly evident that there will be an additional category of motor vehicles for duty purposes, and this must represent increased complexity. Unfortunately for the ACT community, the proposal to introduce increased complexity in the duty regime for motor vehicles is not good public policy. Moreover, as we have shown, the government has not undertaken the proper research into this proposal, to the extent that claims made by the Treasurer in support of this proposal do not appear to be correct.

We will support this bill, although Mr Mulcahy will move some amendments to get rid of some of the more onerous parts of the bill, particularly in relation to payroll tax. For a government which in their economic white paper quite proudly proclaimed that they were going to be the most pro-small-business jurisdiction in the country to put the seven-day burden on small businesses I think is unacceptable. We will be seeking to change that and we will be seeking to oppose the valuations of certain motor vehicles for duty purposes and the changes to the payroll tax liability.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.49): I wish to concentrate on one element of this piece of legislation, which for the most part is the usual sort of fix-up that we have to do from time to time. I am singularly appalled at the proposal put forward by the government in relation to stamp duty on new vehicles. If ever there was a tight-fisted approach to racking the last possible cent out of the working men and women of Canberra, this is it. People save up to go out and buy a new car for their family.

The average person just does not wander into the first new car shop around the place and buy a vehicle.

Mr Hargreaves: My wife did.

MRS DUNNE: He does his market research, he works out what is the best sort of car for him and then he goes and shops around for the best deal. From time to time, with factory run-outs, oversupplies and things like this, you can get a not bad deal on the car of your choice—$2,000 or $3,000 off, or occasionally you might get—

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