Page 1562 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2006

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The most recent Australian Bureau Statistics figures available, released on 29 March of this year, show that, for 2004-05, taxation per capita, both state and local taxes in the ACT, is $2,193, compared to an average across the states and territories of $2,462. The ACT is 11 per cent lower than the average of all states and territories.

Let us look at New South Wales, with whom Mr Mulcahy compares us. New South Wales is the chart topper. New South Wales taxes, on a per capita basis, at $2,645. Per capita, that is $183 more than the national average and $452 more than the ACT. Mr Mulcahy’s claim, on a per capita basis, is, as I said, simply outright wrong.

The ABS figures, as I say released in March this year, also reveal some other interesting facts. For instance, the ACT takes relatively less tax per person today than it did in 2000-01, the last year of the Liberal government. In 2000-01, the Liberal government, of which Mr Smyth was a member, along with Mr Stefaniak, the ACT’s taxation per capita was the third highest in Australia behind New South Wales and Victoria. It was on a par with the average of the states and territories.

In 2004-05, under this Labor government, the ACT taxation per capita was around $270 lower than the national average. In other words, under the Liberals, it was the third highest taxing regime in Australia. Under this government, it is the third lowest taxing regime in Australia. There is the difference; there is the distinction: the high-taxing Liberals, the low-taxing Labor government.

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I seek your ruling on whether the Chief Minister’s answer to the question is in order, given standing order 117 (e) that questions should not refer to debates which have taken place in the calendar year.

MR SPEAKER: The question did not refer to a debate.

MR STANHOPE: It referred to a statement made.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I have been asked for a ruling. Let me give it. The question asked the Chief Minister to comment on some other statements that were made in question time or in debate yesterday.

Mrs Dunne: Yes, in a debate. The comments were made in a debate yesterday. The answer that the Chief Minister is now giving is almost verbatim what he said at the time in that debate yesterday morning. It was not something that arose in question time.

Mr Corbell: There is nothing in the standing orders to prevent Ms MacDonald asking a question of the Chief Minister on taxation levels in the ACT and, in doing so, making reference to comments made in a previous debate. There is nothing in the standing orders to prevent that. It is not reflecting on a vote of the Assembly; it is not reflecting on a debate; it is making reference to comments that have been made in this place and elsewhere on the claimed high levels of taxation. Mr Stanhope is the Treasurer. He has responsibility for taxation matters. He is entitled to answer the question.

MR SPEAKER: Ms MacDonald, would you read the question again.

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