Page 1513 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 April 2013

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Revenue Legislation (Tax Reform) Amendment Bill 2013

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am very pleased today to present the Revenue Legislation (Tax Reform) Amendment Bill 2013 to the Assembly. I announced the government’s 20-year taxation reform plan—a fairer, simpler and more efficient tax system—in the 2012-13 territory budget. This package outlined the government’s plans for the first five years of what will be a two-decade reform process for the territory. This 20-year time frame was chosen to ensure a staged and measured approach, allowing the territory time to adjust to the changes.

This reform is essential to ensure that the territory has a fairer, simpler and more efficient taxation system which is sustainable for the long term. This reform will ensure that the territory has a solid and stable revenue base upon which it is able to continue to fund essential services such as health and education into the future.

All Australian jurisdictions are aware of the importance of taxation reform. However, the ACT is the only jurisdiction to implement such important reform, in part due to our unique access to a broad-based land tax such as general rates. The government’s reforms will support economic growth, make the territory’s taxes sustainable in the long run and allow the government to maintain and enhance the high standard of living that our community enjoys.

The five-year reform plan introduced a raft of reform measures, including abolishing duty on insurance premiums and contracts over a five-year period, phasing out conveyance duty over a 20-year period, abolishing commercial land tax from 1 July 2012, making general rates more progressive, making residential land tax more progressive and reducing payroll tax for businesses operating in the territory.

The reform also included a range of targeted support measures to help Canberra households, including increasing the general rates rebate, expanding the pensioner duty concession scheme, increasing the income threshold for the homebuyer concession scheme, expanding the rates deferral scheme and amending the duty deferral scheme.

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