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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 7 August 2008) . . Page.. 3089 ..

Canberra. We would look to replicate that in the south of Canberra as a start. But there will be other things.

I want to advise the Assembly that because of the quick action of the deputy chair, Ms Porter, and me, we have wasted no time. We will be meeting at 10 o’clock in the morning to begin the work on this inquiry and to map the way forward. I thank the Assembly and obviously commend this motion to you today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Duties (Landholders) Amendment Bill 2008

Debate resumed from 8 May 2008, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.37): The Duties (Landholders) Amendment Bill is a bill that deals with a relatively small area of revenue interest for the territory but it does require a reasonably complex piece of legislation to achieve the objectives that are sought. I thank the Treasurer’s staff and officials from Treasury who have provided a most useful briefing on this bill and who, at 22 minutes to six, are still in the chamber, having waited all day to hear these words. The briefing was very valuable in providing a clear understanding of the objectives of the legislation. It also clarified a number of matters regarding the actual operation of the amended legislation.

I am always concerned to ensure that legislation that affects commercial activities is applied consistently, where possible, across state and territory boundaries. I am pleased to note that this bill has been drafted to align the provisions as closely as practicable with provisions that apply in other states and territories, particularly given that we only have leasehold and that other jurisdictions also have freehold.

In principle, this legislation is updating provisions relating to certain transactions involving the transfer of interests in unit trusts or private companies by bringing them broadly into line with provisions applying in the states, and into line with provisions that are set out by the Australian Stock Exchange. In part, this legislation is a case of the law seeking to catch up with what is actually happening in the marketplace, or what might happen in the world of commercial transactions.

The main way in which the ACT’s provisions differ from those applying in New South Wales and Victoria concerns the thresholds under which transactions are not formed by the current provisions. The reason for this is that the value of transactions in the ACT is typically much lower than those that occur in the larger jurisdictions. There is the added factor that, by not having any thresholds, this removes an administrative process for determining whether a transaction falls within or outside a threshold. I also note that there has been detailed consultation with interested stakeholders, especially the Law Society and the Property Council. It seems that this amending legislation is broadly satisfactory with those interests.

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