Page 4179 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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options strategy to assist school leavers with disability in making the sometimes difficult transition from the school to employment

This concession is targeted toward large businesses in the territory that pay payroll tax. These large businesses will benefit from the qualities that disabled youth in the territory can bring to the workplace. I think it is worthwhile noting, for Mr Wall’s benefit in particular, that a business is not required to pay payroll tax in the ACT until its wages bill exceeds $1.75 million. This is the highest payroll tax free threshold of any jurisdiction in Australia.

A very small minority of businesses in the ACT are liable for payroll tax and, I hasten to add, even fewer will be as a result of the government’s recent payroll tax reforms. It is interesting that we should be lectured by those opposite about the need to move away from inefficient taxes given the appalling position the shadow treasurer and the Liberal Party took to the last election to support increasing such taxes. In fact, they supported lowering the payroll tax threshold at the last election because they indicated they would oppose all of the government’s tax reforms, included in which was a cut to payroll tax. So the Liberal Party stands for an increase in payroll tax. They want more businesses in the ACT to pay payroll tax. So their efforts this morning in their pitiful contributions to this important piece of legislation are to suggest that payroll tax is a bad tax and should be got rid of. Well, why did you want to put it up and impose it on more businesses in the territory, Mr Smyth and Mr Wall? You both stood on a platform in the 2012 election—

MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Refer your comments through the chair, thank you, Mr Barr.

MR BARR: Madam Deputy Speaker, both those gentleman stood on a platform of higher payroll taxes in the ACT directly contradicting the positions they have put this morning.

If a business in the ACT is liable for and paying payroll tax, they are eligible for this concession. The concession will be available when employment commences on or after 1 July 2013 and will continue for the two-year trial period. Employment must commence prior to 1 July 2015. In order to claim the concession, businesses must hire an eligible employee who has a qualifying disability. In this bill, the definition of “disability” is the same as that in the ACT’s Disability Services Act 1991. This definition aligns with that used by the commonwealth Disability Employment Services programs, such as the employment support service. This service assists people with a permanent disability who require long-term, regular and ongoing support in the workplace. This is the target group for eligibility for this concession. An eligible employee must be aged 17 to 24 years and must be employed for at least eight hours per week.

Businesses that are liable for payroll tax are required to complete an annual payroll tax reconciliation. The ACT Revenue Office will apply the concession to an eligible business at that time, with the amount of concession determined by the length of time the eligible person has been employed. For employment of more than 13 weeks but

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