Page 2713 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 6 June 2012

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MR SPEAKER: Unless the Treasurer wishes to add any further comments, the matter is resolved. A further supplementary, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Treasurer, are there alternative approaches the government could take?

MR BARR: Yes, there are a range of alternative approaches that could be adopted. You could of course seek to increase taxes in these areas; that would be an alternative policy approach. You could adopt the head-in-the-sand approach and go, “Oh, this is all just too hard,” which is the approach that we have seen from those opposite. Or, just because someone else has actually done something in the area, you could abandon everything that you previously believed in and just sit there and pontificate about making a significant difference in this area of public policy.

So there is a challenge for the Canberra Liberals. I was very generous when releasing this—

Mr Smyth: Point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Smyth: Under standing order 118B the minister is not allowed to debate the subject and he is certainly not responsible for the Canberra Liberals’ policy. I would ask you to ask him to answer the question or sit down.

MR SPEAKER: Stop the clock. Thank you. The minister was asked if there were alternative approaches. Minister, you are free to canvass alternative approaches, but we do not need a dissertation on Liberal Party policy, thank you.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I accept your ruling. There is no Liberal Party policy, so I cannot really talk about that. The alternative policy options are, I suppose, to also pursue even more inefficient taxation and seek to shift the burden from efficient taxes to inefficient taxes under some guise, perhaps, of thinking that you are doing something to improve the cost of living. You could do a whole range of things that would in fact send public policy in the wrong direction.

What we are seeking to do through these reforms is to shift the taxation base onto more efficient sources of revenue and, importantly, to introduce a progressive element into that change. That is important because the change that we are applying to the rates base means that the burden is more fairly shared.


MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in yesterday’s budget you announced a reform to the taxation system in the ACT. As part of this reform, the revenue that is forgone from abolished transaction taxes will be met from increases in general rates revenue. Treasurer, the budget paper states that in the 2012-13 year, the

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