Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 August 2008) . . Page.. 2901 ..
this government. As a taxing policy it is a failure—another Stanhope government taxing failure.
It is pertinent to consider taxing policy in the context of the ACT’s budgetary situation. The ACT has been the recipient of a revenue boom in recent years. There has been a veritable flood of revenue into the coffers of the ACT government, a boom amounting to more than $1.6 billion that it did not expect to receive. Unfortunately for the Canberra community, the Stanhope government has failed again. It has failed to use this revenue boom effectively, while it has foisted inefficient, unfair and complex taxing proposals on the territory’s citizens and businesses.
This taxing policy also fails the test that the Chief Minister set out when he was the Leader of the Opposition in May 2000 as he complained about the budget that had been brought down by the then Chief Minister, Kate Carnell. He said, “We need a government that will focus on … low tax rates.” Did you miss that statement, that commitment? “We need a government that will focus on … low tax rates.” That was Mr Stanhope, then the Leader of the Opposition, on 26 May 2000.
The Stanhope government has not only failed the very test that the current Chief Minister set out but acted in precisely the opposite way. It has attempted to introduce a raft of new and expanded taxing measures during its term in office. Fortunately, a number of these have failed. Unfortunately, some got through.
Let us consider some of the failed Stanhope government’s tax proposals. Firstly, we had the failed rating policy. The government proposed a complete change to the way in which general rates are determined in the ACT. The then Treasurer said that it sounded like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, this proposal was not good policy. Fortunately, the silly proposal was defeated in the Assembly.
Then we had the bushfire tax. The government proposed to impose a fixed levy on all rateable properties for two years. This knee-jerk proposal was abandoned as totally unnecessary.
Then we had the loan security duty. This policy would have imposed a duty on secured loans with a value of more than $1 million, raising only $500,000 at a time. This proposal was abandoned after the government realised belatedly that all the other states were abolishing this duty.
We had the pay parking in Barton. This proposal had to be abandoned when the Stanhope government finally realised that the ACT government could not introduce this taxing measure. Then we had the parking space tax. This measure was proposed in the 2003-04 budget, to apply in four city centres in Canberra, raising approximately $2½ million. This poorly planned and developed policy was finally abandoned—
Mr Corbell: Point of order, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell.
Mr Corbell: Mr Smyth has been speaking for nearly five minutes now and he is yet to actually address this levy and the bill that deals with the abolition of this levy. He is