Page 2605 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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What we have also heard from this government is that we are getting rid of stamp duty. Andrew Barr said he is going to get rid of stamp duty every budget until it is gone. He is on the record saying that a number of times. But the problem is, when you actually look at this budget, what you find is that stamp duty revenue is going up. In fact, by the end of this budget, from the start of the reforms, it will have gone up $39 million so that by the end of this budget period, 2018, stamp duty being collected by this government is $259 million.

In actual fact there will be more stamp duty collected at the end of this budget, on the budget papers, than at any time in the ACT’s history. The great reformer, Mr Barr, who said that he was coming here, he was going to triple your rates but do not worry, people, because he is getting rid of stamp duty, is in actual fact going to take more stamp duty out of the pockets of Canberrans than any other Treasurer in the history of the ACT. Nobody is winning out of this tax reform.

I refer now to an article written by Phillip Coorey from the Australian Financial Review. And it is interesting to read that article and what he said. He was referring to the last election and what has happened since:

In just three years, rates have soared in the ACT and in some cases, have nearly doubled. Rates in inner suburbs have risen from around $1,600 a year to $3,000 and in some cases over, $4,000. This week’s ACT budget forecast that revenue from rates will jump by $356 million between 2010-11 and 2018-19, a 2.8-fold increase: almost a tripling in less than a decade.

This is not the Liberal Party saying this, this is not some party announcement on behalf of the Liberal Party, this is a journalist writing in the Australian Financial Review. I go on:

Because of the phased-in nature of the property tax, they will continue to rise at a rate many times higher than inflation for some years yet. This week’s budget locked in another 9 per cent increase, as well as steep hikes in registration fees and levies. The overall impact was an impost of many hundreds of dollars a year on every household.

And then under the heading “High rates don’t discriminate” he goes on:

As the owner of a bog-standard brick veneer house in a bog-standard Canberra suburb, this columnist declares a personal interest in the issue which is rapidly rendering the ACT one of the more unaffordable places in which to live.

The problem with exorbitant rates is that they do not discriminate. For people on low incomes, such as retirees living in homes they have owned for yonks, suddenly trying to find $1,000 a quarter, when just years ago it was $400, can be downright cruel.

So the article goes on. It is a good article and worth well the read if you have not read it. He makes many of the points that Zed Seselja has made in this place, that Brendan Smyth has made in this place, that I have made in this place and that others have made in this place: this government’s tax regime is downright cruel because it imposes

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