Page 2644 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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number of initiatives in this directorate that are worth highlighting in this year’s budget include: the $132 million injection over two years to renew public housing properties under the public housing renewal program; the next phase of the city to the lake project with a $10 million investment; the creation of the new public park at West Basin; $7.7 million over four years towards the appointment of 13 additional inspectors to ensure the quality and safety of buildings in the territory are maintained; $6 million over the next two years to grow the government’s contribution to the ACT economy through increasing business innovation, trade development and private investment; and a $3 million injection over two years to support additional land release in the Molonglo Valley.

In comments during this debate the Leader of the Opposition made an assertion that stamp duty collected in recent times was, in fact, the highest on record. He is wrong once again. In 2010-11 conveyance duties were $281 million. In the most recent fiscal year we have data for, 2013-14, they were 226 million. It is worth noting that before the tax reform the projections for conveyance duty were $281 million in 2010-11, $294 million in 2011-12, $298 million in 2012-13, $305 million in 2013-14 and $307 million in 2014-15.

As a result of stamp duty reductions the amount of stamp duty collected in 2012-13 was not the $298 million that was projected prior to tax reform but $230 million—a significant reduction of around 20 per cent in that instance. We were projecting $305 million in stamp duty revenue in 2013-14 before the stamp duty cuts and instead $226 million was collected.

It is very easy for assertions to be made in relation to revenue collection. It is worth observing that, of course, each year with inflation and increases in house values the amount of stamp duty if you did not touch the rates at all would grow every year. But because we have been reducing the rates, the amount of stamp duty that is collected is, in fact, falling and the rates that are charged on an average property in Canberra are falling considerably.

It is worth noting that were we to leave stamp duty, not reform it and follow the path of Sydney—stamp duty paid on a house in Sydney, a median value house in Sydney, is now nearly $41,000, $41,000 for the median house in Sydney—in Canberra now it is $19,355 and falling.

Mr Coe: Different values.

MR BARR: That is right. There are different values but—

Mr Coe: No the purchase price is different.

MR BARR: That is correct but the point is, if you leave stamp duty untouched, if you do not cut the rates, as house prices increase the amount of stamp duty collected will continue to increase. If we had not undertaken tax reform, those purchasing properties under $500,000 in the ACT would be paying $7,000 more. The median house price in Sydney at this point in time is around $1 million. In Canberra it is $564,000.

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