Page 5064 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 17 November 2009

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That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.36): The Duties Amendment Bill 2009 (No 2) seems to be a simple piece of legislation to remove some unnecessary or outdated parts of legislation and to clarify others. The areas that the bill looks at cover such things as de facto relationships as defined under the commonwealth Family Law Act to make sure that, as the explanatory statement states, the amendments made by this bill do not override the existing exemptions but, indeed, just clarify them. The bill looks at the Taxation (Government Business Enterprises) Act to remove some provisions in the act which are redundant and it looks at the terminology that relates to provisions on the registration of a motor vehicle.

At first blush it all seems quite simple and reasonable. Indeed, the opposition will be supporting the legislation today. But when the minister closes I would like her just to clarify a few things. The first thing I would say to the Assembly is that I had a briefing yesterday on this bill, and I thank the Treasurer for the briefing. As always, the officials were very good in the information that they delivered. But I did ask some questions afterwards. One of the questions was: what consultation has been done? The answer was that there was no consultation because it was just for clarification of the existing legislation due to conflicting interpretations.

With that in mind, I did some consultation. I rang a number of the business organisations around town to find that most had not heard of the act. Indeed, having read it, some had concerns with what is proposed here. This requires some simple clarification from the minister. For instance, the Motor Trades Association wrote back to me and said:

Dear Brendan,

Further to our discussions, as listed below directly from ACT Revenue website, you will note that cab chassis vehicles with equipment attached, have the “C” rated green vehicle guide imposed and is not restricted by any dollar amount. Whereas a motor vehicle with a value exceeding $45,000 will have the appropriate green vehicle guide rating plus an increase as outlined in table 3 below.

The MTA goes on to say:

Industry is concerned that without maintaining the status quo through the removal of the wording “passenger” and “constructed to primarily for the carriage of not more than 9 occupants” that business will in fact be required to pay the additional duty as outlined in table 3.

The MTA has not been consulted on this matter, but would support the amendments as long as the government ensured as per their “Overview Statement” that the lower rates will continue to apply. Otherwise objections to this amendment must be made.

It is extremely disappointing that the government has failed to consult with industry on this matter.

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