Page 2627 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013

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MR BARR: The wage price index forecast is three per cent.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Treasurer, what decisions did the government take in response to the review you undertook into the ACT taxation system in relation to payroll tax?

MR BARR: The government, in reviewing the territory’s taxation system, made a decision to raise the payroll tax threshold in the territory. We have the highest payroll tax threshold of any jurisdiction in Australia. This ensures that small and medium-size enterprises in the ACT are not subject to payroll tax. As a result of increasing the threshold from $1.5 million to $1.75 million, we provided a payroll tax cut to every business that pays payroll tax and exempted around 120 businesses that were previously paying payroll tax from having to pay payroll tax.

Overall, the way the legal incidence of payroll tax falls on the small business sector and on employers, the economic incidence demonstrated through detailed modelling tends to see that tax passed on to consumers in most industries—not in all, but in most. So the economic impact of payroll tax is, in effect, a de facto consumption tax. Nevertheless, whilst it is not the most inefficient tax that state and territory governments levy, it is certainly more efficient than stamp duty, for example, or tax on insurance. That is why the government in its tax reforms is seeking to abolish those most inefficient taxes first.

Disability services—funding

DR BOURKE: My question is to the minister for disability. Minister, can you update the Assembly on the first round of enhanced service offers available through Disability ACT in preparation for the full implementation of DisabilityCare in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I thank Dr Bourke for his interest in DisabilityCare. The move to DisabilityCare will indeed bring significant changes for people with a disability in our community. It will mean individuals will have greater choice and greater control about the kind of services and supports that they receive and who provides them.

The enhanced service offer is a package of one-off grants worth $7.7 million that will help in the transition to DisabilityCare. The first round of enhanced service offer grants opened on 1 July this year and will close this Friday. The offer is designed to meet the needs of the broadest range of people possible. All ACT residents under 65 with ongoing support needs related to a disability can apply for a grant. Successful applicants will have funding paid directly to them to purchase the supports and services they need. This will give people a chance to “test drive” the way that DisabilityCare can be delivered when it is launched here in July next year.

The grants can be applied for online and have been widely promoted. Information has been circulated through Medicare, libraries, community radio, Koori Mail, housing tenants’ newsletters, mainstream and specialist school newsletters, as well as the usual funded provider networks.

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