Page 1565 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2006

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Those are the facts of the matter. Whether you look at the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for March this year, at the Commonwealth Grants Commission’s assessments, the taxation to gross state product measure—all three measures, all released this year, show that Mr Mulcahy was wrong and that the ACT is not a high-taxing jurisdiction.

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.

MR GENTLEMAN: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, can you provide any additional information on taxation in the ACT?

MR STANHOPE: I cannot provide any additional information other than to provide some interesting reading. I was going to table it, just for those who do not have the interest now that the myth has been debunked, now that another attempt at distortion and talking down of the ACT and the ACT economy has been trashed. It is interesting and instructive to look at relative changes in taxation effort and relative efforts across Australia.

The increase in taxation take in each of the states and territories and the commonwealth reads like this: between 2000-01, when this government came to office, and 2004-05, the last year of records, New South Wales has increased taxation and the taxation take by 11 per cent, Victoria has increased its taxation take by 19 per cent, Queensland has increased its taxation take by 43 per cent, South Australia has increased its take by 31 per cent, Western Australia has increased its take by 37 per cent, Tasmania by 21 per cent, the Northern Territory by 36 per cent, the commonwealth by 24 per cent—and the ACT by nine per cent—with a national average of 22 per cent.

Those are the facts and it would be of benefit to the ACT if we could put our petty political aspirations aside and from time to time put the interests of the territory, territory business and the territory economy above our political distortions of the truth. It would be of benefit not to have the Liberal Party rushing around to all its business meetings and its business mates and saying that this is not the place to do business because we have the highest taxing regime. How many times I heard it out there, being sprouted by the Liberals out in the community.

At every business meeting or function that I attend, the mantra from the Liberal Party is: “We’ve got to do something about taxation. The high level of rapacious taxation being ripped by this government out of this community is deterring business. It is sending them across the border to Queanbeyan.” How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said it? How many times have you falsely raised the spectre with the business community, the broader community and the rest of Australia that this is not the place to come to do business? How often have you talked down our economy and our capacity to attract business to this town and to this place by talking up in an extreme and false way the taxation take in the Australian Capital Territory? You should be talking up our low-taxing regime and our low tax take. You should put the territory first, instead of the distortions and mistruths that you peddle about the taxation regime. Mr Speaker, I table the following document:

Australian Bureau of Statistics—table on taxation takes across Australia.

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