Page 2900 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 6 August 2008

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Your Petitioners therefore request that the Assembly strongly consider the effect this inaction has had, and continues to have, on Gungahlin businesses and requests it to be urgently addressed.


By Mr Stefaniak, from 633 residents:

To the Speaker and the Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory.

The petition of certain members of the Australian Capital Territory draws to the attention of the Assembly the parking difficulties experienced by shopkeepers, staff and customers at the Nicholls shops; in particular the narrow carriageway in the car park which leads to frequent accidents, the lack of short-stay parking bays (the ones that were there were filled in recently) and the inadequate number of car-parking spaces. Your petitioners therefore request the Assembly to redress this situation and improve parking at the Nicholls shops.

The Clerk having announced that the terms of the petitions would be recorded in Hansard and a copy of each referred to the appropriate minister, the petitions were received.

Rates (Fire and Emergency Services Levy Repeal) Amendment Bill 2008

Debate resumed from 2 April 2008, on motion by Mr Mulcahy:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.35): Mr Speaker, I would have assumed that the government might like to speak about this, but clearly the Treasurer is not—

Mr Mulcahy: Obviously tax reform is not a big item on the agenda.

MR SMYTH: It is not a big item for the government at this time. That is probably a bit of a shame, because it is an important issue.

The fire and emergency services levy fails all the tests of what a good tax should comprise, if there is such a thing as a good tax. A taxing policy should satisfy three key principles. It should not detract from economic efficiency; that is, it should not distort decisions made by individuals and businesses. It should be fair and equitable. And it should be simple: it should be simple to administer and it should have the least possible cost of compliance.

It is inevitable that there will have to be a balance achieved between each of these principles, but they are a sound starting point. This levy—this taxing measure, and, let us face it, that is what it is—is not efficient, not equitable and not simple. This tax is regressive. It probably ranks as one of the worst taxes that have been implemented by

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