Page 1834 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 May 2013

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expand the deferral scheme in some cases could be described as predatory. It allows those seniors to defer payments but with an interest charge which, as I have said, ultimately amounts to a death tax.

What are Canberrans saying about what has occurred? This is from correspondence that we received in the lead-up to the last election. From one letter:

Yesterday we received the latest rate notice for our commercial land in Fyshwick. Without looking at the actual rates notice, we opened up the latest brochure on Tax Reform. With some excitement, we read Commercial Land Tax was being abolished. Downside we read that rates would be increased and we assumed this would be a minimal amount. We then turned to our rates notice and were literally shocked to see the amount on there … For us this is an increase of $1,310.

From the second piece of correspondence:

The current system is downright ludicrous … Labor’s move to a progressive system is outright rubbish … it’s just replacing UAV with block size! Has Labor gone completely mad? My rates have been increasing about 6.5% pa on average under Labor and it’s downright scary receiving the rates notice each year (especially this year) … Our incomes certainly don’t increase by such an amount each year.

From a third constituent:

The government of the day is taking more and more money from us … In my professional capacity, I saw waste first hand, and that perhaps frustrates me more when I am penalised for living in a house that I have occupied for nearly 30 years.

Although we note the respective initiatives in this bill, the context of this bill within the Treasurer’s tax reforms and the lack of evidence to the contrary that rates will triple—the Canberra Liberals find it unacceptable. Furthermore, the examples I have just provided regarding the rates deferral scheme and its implication for seniors are worrying if this foretells the future to come.

In light of the Treasurer’s reluctance to provide this Assembly with modelling on future rate increases as a result of tax reform, support of this bill is tantamount to a leap of faith. As a party that firmly believes that housing affordability is a problem that needs to be tackled now and is an element of our plans to address cost of living pressures faced by Canberrans, we will not be supporting this bill.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.01): In implementing part of the tax reform package, the bill improves the administration of our taxation system and moves us a little further down the path to the fundamental change in the way land is taxed in the ACT, a much needed change that I believe will deliver significant benefits to the ACT.

We have already had the policy debate about tax reforms in this place many times, and Mr Smyth has just re-prosecuted it. Suffice to say that the removal of commercial land tax to simplify the taxation liabilities for business, in the Greens’ view, is a good thing, and adding the mechanism for rates deferral to ensure that the changes to the

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