Page 1957 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 June 2015

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The path of reduction on stamp duty is more gradual, but I was pleased to be able to report to the community that for a property valued at $500,000 the stamp duty is now nearly $6,000 less than it was four years ago. That is a significant cut. It is a significant reduction in what is a barrier to purchasing a home, and it is a significant improvement in affordability.

It was very interesting to hear the Leader of the Opposition endorse the government’s tax reforms to date on ABC radio this morning when he ruled out reversing them. So having campaigned against them, the proposition was put to the Leader of the Opposition, “Would you increase stamp duty”—

Mr Hanson: I am not quite sure that is what I said.

MR BARR: Well, if you want to increase stamp duty, if that is your policy, and if that is the policy of the shadow treasurer, let us hear it from the Liberal Party. Do you support putting insurance taxes back up? Do you support putting stamp duty back up? That is the policy question that the Leader of the Opposition needs to answer.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, how much have general rates gone up for the average Canberra household in the last four years?

MR BARR: In the first year of tax reform, lower value ACT properties received a rates reduction. Increases have been in the order of 10 per cent and are now reducing—in this year’s budget nine per cent and in future years lower. Particularly as insurance tax is abolished, future rate increases will comprise the WPI component and a component to replace stamp duty. Once insurance tax is abolished on 1 July next year, rate increases will be commensurately smaller. It is worth noting that over the history of self-government there have been rate increases every year.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Treasurer, how much has been cut in stamp duty each year in the forward estimates?

MR BARR: The tables on stamp duty reductions are published in the budget, but we have seen the top rate come down from about 7.25 to 5.17 per cent, as I understand it. Some of the other rates have come down—4.5 to four. The bottom rate, I think, is now 1.48 per cent and moving down. So we have cut each of the marginal tax rates. We have also provided significant concessions to those over 60, pensioners and first home buyers, who now only pay $20 in stamp duty if they are eligible under those various schemes.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: If rates go up at 10 per cent a year, as they do in many suburbs, how long does it take for those rates to triple?

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