Page 125 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012

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Importantly, though, the government assist all households in the ACT with cost of living pressures by helping to build a strong economy that supports and creates jobs. An essential part of this is our tax reform plan, which is designed to make our tax system fairer, simpler and more efficient and, of course, ensure Canberra’s continued economic prosperity in its second century.

What those opposite appear to be finding hard to grasp is that we want the territory to continue to be a modern, thriving economy with high quality services and public infrastructure. If we want that then we need to ensure that we have the capacity to raise funds effectively into the future. There is no doubt that the previous tax system was outdated and in need of reform.

The Henry tax review made this point very clearly at a national level and encouraged states and territories to head down what is a difficult path of reform. As I mentioned in question time yesterday, every state and territory faces this challenge. We all know what we need to do on tax reform, but at this stage the ACT is the only jurisdiction that has actually had the courage to do something about it.

The key parts of our tax reform agenda include reducing stamp duty over the short term and abolishing it over the longer term. For the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition, who appears not to be able to read, stamp duty is abolished by 2032. Abolishing insurance duties, which will be complete by 2015-16, will see the ACT become the only jurisdiction in Australia that does not tax insurance—a cost of living benefit to every Canberra household. It is a cost of living benefit to every Canberra household.

They will see a 10 per cent reduction. All tax will be abolished. The current 10 per cent tax will be abolished on their motor vehicle insurance, on their home contents insurance, on their building insurance. If they work in a field that requires some form of professional indemnity insurance, the tax on that is abolished. If they are a business that has motor vehicles as part of their business, the tax on the insurance on that motor vehicle is abolished.

We have also increased the payroll tax threshold to provide a $17,000 payroll tax cut to every business in the ACT that pays payroll tax, and 115 businesses now pay no payroll tax at all. They did previously under the old arrangements. Importantly, and perhaps an area that has not been discussed as much, the reforms to land tax have significantly benefited those who are renting a home. Seventy-six per cent of all rental properties in this city received a cut in the land tax that is applied to those properties. Of course, we are redesigning our rates system to ensure it delivers revenue in a more efficient system, in a more efficient way and is progressive in its application.

What the Leader of the Opposition conveniently leaves out of his list is the one-quarter, the 33,000 properties in the territory, that had their rates cut as part of a move to a more progressive rates system. The Leader of the Opposition always leaves that out. That is because the Leader of the Opposition has no interest at all in representing the issues that are faced by the lowest income Canberrans and those who occupy the lowest valued properties in this city. He is not—

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