Page 2071 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 June 2015

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MR SMYTH: What is the total cost of duplicating Horse Park Drive from Mulligans Flat Road to the Federal Highway? What stretches of the road will be duplicated, and with how much money from the allocation in the budget?

MR GENTLEMAN: I do not have the details of the costs for those whole areas that Mr Smyth has asked for, but I will take that on notice and come back to him.


MS FITZHARRIS: My question is to the Treasurer: can you please explain how the government’s economic reforms are supporting Canberra?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Fitzharris for the question. The territory government is implementing a range of economic reforms which are supporting our city, our businesses, our households and, most importantly, growth. Taxation reform is transitioning Canberra’s tax base away from the volatile and inefficient transaction-based taxes favoured by the Leader of the Opposition towards a more stable and efficient revenue source, using our general rates system.

A stable and efficient revenue base is not an end in itself, though. The driving objective behind these reforms is the need to secure into the future the government’s capacity to fund essential services in health care, education, transport and other municipal areas that Canberrans expect and deserve. A sustainable, stable and efficient revenue base in the form of a land-based tax positions the territory best to achieve this objective. To minimise the impact of reforms on households and businesses, the reforms are being phased in over a 20-year period on a broadly revenue-neutral basis, with assistance being targeted to low income households.

Tax on insurance premiums is being abolished over five years. I am very pleased to advise the Assembly that from 1 July 2016 the ACT will become the first jurisdiction in Australia to completely abolish all tax on insurance products. Conveyance duties are being cut in every budget. In addition, we are continuing to reform our procurement processes, to reduce red tape to make it easier for businesses to engage with government. A new bill was introduced to this very effect this morning.

From 1 July 2015 procurements with a value of $200,000 or more will be tendered electronically via the new Tenders ACT website. E-tendering simplifies the tendering process, resulting in time and cost savings for local businesses. The smart, modern, strategic procurement initiative is another reform that will support local businesses and, in turn, the local economy. This initiative will encourage innovation and competition in the local market and improve industry engagement and promotion opportunities with government for small and medium-sized enterprises.

These reforms build on those of recent years to support the local economy—for example, making it easier for local businesses to tender for capital works projects by reviewing the prequalification requirements, establishing more appropriate terms and conditions in standard government contracts and making greater use of two-stage tendering processes, which can improve understanding of government’s requirements

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