Page 2364 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 June 2013

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First Home Owner Grant 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) (10.43): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The First Home Owner Grant Amendment Bill 2013 will give effect to important changes to the territory’s first home owner grant scheme. As part of last year’s budget, this government announced a number of important taxation reforms in order to create a fairer, simpler and more efficient taxation system for the residents of the ACT. This included a range of housing affordability measures such as the retargeting and expansion of the homebuyer concession scheme, the expansion of the pensioner duty concession scheme and the phasing out of conveyance duty over a 20-year period. The ACT’s 2013-14 budget will continue the implementation of significant housing affordability initiatives which support new homebuyers in the territory, as well as the construction industry in the provision of new housing.

This bill will implement amendments to the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 and will retarget the grant. This grant was originally introduced in July 2000 to help offset the impact of the goods and services tax. However, since the time the grant was implemented it has been found to no longer achieve its original intended purpose, and can in certain circumstances increase house prices.

To best utilise the grant, and to best assist those first homebuyers most in need, the grant will be retargeted with this bill to first homebuyers who are purchasing a new or substantially renovated property. In addition the grant amount will be increased from $7,000 to $12,500 for each eligible application.

These amendments will better align the grant not only with the ACT’s homebuyer concession scheme but also with other jurisdictions which have already announced or implemented similar changes to their grant schemes. Other jurisdictions, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, will redirect or have already redirected the grant to new homes only and increased the value of the grant payment.

This bill will help the ACT to become a more attractive marketplace to first homebuyers of new homes. It is anticipated that the provision of the grant to new and substantially renovated properties only will stimulate the territory’s construction industry and provide an increase in housing supply. This will help to create a stronger property market in the territory.

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