Page 895 - Week 03 - Thursday, 30 March 2006

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MADAM TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: I should remind members that the point that Mr Corbell makes is a correct one and that if you want to set the record straight you should be absolutely clear on what it is that you are setting straight before you do so. Members have the capacity to come back here at any time and seek leave to make a statement under the standing orders. The discussion is concluded.

Leave of absence

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to:

That leave of absence be given to Mr Hargreaves (Minister for Urban Services) for this sitting.

Duties Amendment Bill 2006

Debate resumed.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (5.00): On behalf of Mr Stanhope, I thank members for their support of this bill. This bill provides further tax relief to the ACT business community. Under the intergovernmental agreement on the reform of commonwealth-state financial relations the IGA, which underpinned the introduction of the GST, the states and territories agreed to cease the application of certain business taxes. The ACT fulfilled this commitment by abolishing financial institutions duty in 2001. It abolished duty on quoted marketable securities in 2001 and debits tax was abolished in 2005.

The IGA also committed the states and territories to review the need to retain other specified business taxes. In this regard the comment made by Mr Mulcahy—that there was a further commitment on the part of the ACT government to abolish certain taxes—is simply incorrect. The IGA did not commit the states to abolish further taxes over and above those I have just mentioned; instead it committed the states and territories to review the need to retain other specified business taxes. I am pleased to say that, as an outcome of the ACT government’s review, a package of tax reform measures was announced in the last budget.

This package committed the ACT to abolish four other taxes, including duty on core business assets by 1 July 2006, abolish duty on rental arrangements by 1 July 2007, abolish lease duty by 1 July 2009, and abolish duty on unquoted marketable securities by 1 July 2010. In undertaking these steps the ACT government fulfilled both the letter and spirit of the IGA, contrary to the assertion made by Mr Mulcahy. Duty on non-real core business assets is the first of those business taxes scheduled to be abolished in the ACT.

This bill amends the Duties Act 1999 to remove any duty liability on the acquisition of non-real core business assets on or after 1 July 2006. As a result, duty will no longer be chargeable on transfers and transactions involving the goodwill of a business, intellectual property and a statutory licence or permission under commonwealth or territory law. In addition, partnership interests and goods in the ACT will now only be dutiable property where they include or are dependent on an arrangement that includes lands, a crown lease, land use entitlements, unquoted marketable securities or units in a unit trust.

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