Page 1908 - Week 05 - Thursday, 5 May 2011

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MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, when can we expect to see the government’s clean economy strategy released publicly?

MR STANHOPE: In the information that I have been provided in relation to this—and I do not have a most recent update; it is some little while ago, I think within the last few weeks—I was advised that we will be in a position to release the final clean economy industry strategy, as a result of the work initiated with the reference to the University of Canberra, before the end of this financial year; in other words before the end of June.

Taxation—change of use charge

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, I refer to comments made by the Property Council of Australia’s ACT division and reported in this morning’s Canberra Times that the change of use charge could lead to a drop in value of a home in redevelopment areas by up to $100,000. Minister, do you have any modelling to suggest that this would not be the case?

MS GALLAGHER: As Mr Smyth will know, there has been detailed modelling done on the implementation of the codification of the change of use charge. I am sure that he has pored over all those reports. There is nothing in those reports that would suggest a devaluing of properties to that order. Indeed, some of the perverse outcomes we have seen from the very low rates of change in use charge have had the opposite effect, Mr Smyth. The move to codification should deal with that.

Take, for example, a home in Forrest for sale in the order of $1.1 million to $1.2 million; two potential buyers—one wanting to live in a house; the other a developer who wanted to redevelop that house. The one who wanted to live in the house is prepared to pay $1.1 million to $1.2 million; a developer who wanted to subdivide and put on additional units prepared to pay $1.7 million, only to demolish the house. So what we have been seeing on the very low change of use charge has been exactly the opposite effect of overvaluing property in order to deliver a multiunit development on that site.

My answer in short, Mr Speaker, is no, we do not believe that the modelling that the government has commissioned that is available, that has been tabled in this place, would support those claims. I would suggest, with all due respect, that the property industry, representing property developers in town with the knowledge that a property development charge is increasing in line with community expectations, would seek to run a very effective scare campaign around those charges.

I understand what they are doing. Their members do not want to pay more. They have made that very clear to me. Their members—developers in this town—do not wish to pay more. They all accept that they were paying too little. They have all been through the door saying, “Yes, Treasurer, we know that times were very good before and it was a nod nod, wink wink; nobody said anything. Now that you have uncovered that we do know that we have to pay more. We are prepared to pay upwards of $10,000 per unit but anything over and above that would actually be starting to be a bit uncomfortable for us.”

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