Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 June 2009) . . Page.. 2672 ..
Treasurer, what credence do you attach to these conclusions from Mr Harris?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank the member for the question. I think Mr Harris has done a fair analysis of the budget; I think I went to that on Thursday of last week. He does not necessarily agree with all of the decisions that we have taken in this budget, but he does go to outline for the members of the estimates committee the fact that the ACT budget is in a robust fiscal position and that has allowed the government to take the decisions that we have in this budget in outlining our plan to recover the budget over a seven-year period.
I note the comments that he made about property taxes; but I note that—I do not think it is in this paper that he has done it but in the analysis of the Property Council submission—he does acknowledge the narrow revenue base available to jurisdictions to raise revenue to pay for services to the community, and I would be surprised if Mr Smyth would disagree with that analysis. So I note it. I also note the fact that we have to raise revenue in order to pay for services to the community. I note the fact that the Property Council has a view on these things. I note that the Business Council has a view on these things. I have invited both of those organisations to outline to me changes they would like to see us make to our revenue measures for next year’s budget. As long as they acknowledge that the amount that we have to raise has to remain the same or increase, I have said I will give fair hearing to any ideas that they have. I am sure that the Property Council and the Business Council will put forward their views; in fact the Business Council has already put forward some submissions around that.
I think I have been pretty up-front. We have seen massive dips in our revenue. We were not in a position to lower the level of charges or revenue that we raise through our various means in this year’s budget, and I doubt that we will be able to do it in any budget to come. The revenue level will remain the same. The mechanism to raise that revenue is open for discussion, but taxation on property remains a legitimate way for state and territory governments to raise money to provide services, that are ever growing in demand, to the community.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?
Mr Barr: You want to abolish all taxes now, do you, Brendan?
MR SMYTH: Yes, thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Barr: That’s where your detailed economic analysis is going, is it?
MR SMYTH: Treasurer, are you aware of any grounds on which to criticise the imposition of property taxes?
MR SPEAKER: Sorry, Mr Smyth; can you give us that again—Mr Barr was interjecting unhelpfully.
MR SMYTH: As he does so often, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, are you aware of any grounds on which to criticise the imposition of property taxes?