Page 1026 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 19 March 2013

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that we must sit here in silence through question time, if that is what you want, could you make that clear so that we do not have any conflict?

MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson. I have said that the minister will be heard in silence. That is just what I have said. Ms Gallagher, you will improve the situation if you do not have a conversation with Mr Smyth and just address all your remarks through the chair. Thank you, Ms Gallagher.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Madam Acting Speaker. The issue that is presented to me, and there is the opportunity to reconsider the allocation of this capital, and I think it is right that I reconsider it, is the available capital to the budget as a whole, the priority we are placing on health and the fact that we have now taken some decisions around the secure unit, which will see that project proceed and the potential to reallocate some funding to that project. That is the decision I am taking. It is responsible and it is looking at the immediate term without taking away from the long-term plans for the redevelopment of the health system which will be delivered over the next eight to 10 years.

MADAM ACTING SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Seselja.

MR SESELJA: Minister, does the decision to delay this project have anything to do with the allocation of capital for the light rail project?


Housing—stamp duty

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer and is in relation to the ACT Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the government’s application of stamp duty to its land and house packages under the affordable housing scheme. Minister, how many people could be entitled to a similar stamp duty refund?

MR BARR: I thank the shadow treasurer for the question. At this stage it is difficult to determine an exact figure. It would be a very small number. The particular issues that have been raised in the ACAT hearing and the Supreme Court reflect a set of circumstances that are particularly narrow in their application and reflect upon the interaction of a concessions scheme with interdependent contracts, and clearly are not ones that are usual in the context of the Revenue Office’s treatment of stamp duty concessions—and, indeed, the stamp duty scheme more broadly.

I would observe that the Commissioner for Revenue has indicated that he is seeking further advice in relation to this matter. I do not think it is appropriate in this forum to comment on individual cases for taxpayers. But as a broad question I do not believe this has significant implications. It impacts on a very small number, possibly only one or two, although time will tell in relation to that. The important thing from a governance perspective is to ensure that the integrity of both the concessions scheme and the stamp duty scheme more broadly are upheld. The government certainly does not support tax avoidance, nor does it support tax loopholes.

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