Page 2040 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 May 2009

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act implemented the government’s commitment under the intergovernmental agreement on the reform of commonwealth/state financial relations to abolish duty on commercial leases that run for a term of 30 years or less. However, the 2006 act inadvertently removed the duty exemption that previously existed for all residential leases. The amendments therefore merely realign the Duties Act with existing policy.

The second of these amendments is an anti-avoidance measure designed to protect the ACT’s revenue base. The amendment clarifies that a change in an interest held in a landholder that is made by a declaration of trust will give rise to an acquisition in a landholder and thereby trigger a liability to landholder duty. Similar amendments were made in New South Wales in 2008 and in Victoria in 2007 in order to close this loophole.

The third of the amendments will introduce a new exemption from landholder duty for top-hatting property trust restructures. Top-hatting occurs where property trusts restructure to come under a single head trust, making them more competitive in domestic and international markets. The exemption will apply to landholder acquisitions that are made to give effect to a rollover scheme under subdivision 124Q of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

These measures will have a negligible financial impact on the ACT. I commend the Duties Amendment Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Statute Law Amendment Bill 2009

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.15): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill makes statute law revision amendments to ACT legislation under guidelines for the technical amendments program approved by the government. The program provides for amendments that are minor or technical and non-controversial. They are generally insufficiently important to justify the presentation of separate legislation in each case and may be inappropriate to make as editorial amendments in the process of republishing legislation under the Legislation Act 2001.The program is implemented by presenting a statute law amendment bill in each sitting of the Legislative Assembly and including further technical amendments and other amending legislation where appropriate.

Statute law amendment bills serve the important purpose of improving the overall quality of the ACT statute book so that our laws are kept up to date and are easier to

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