Page 3071 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 16 September 2015

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MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.56): Thank you, members, for your interesting input today. It would appear from those opposite that we are all going to get a benefit from something that is not happening. Seventy-five per cent of zero is zero. It might feel good to say that we are going to get 75 per cent of the improved value, but when there has been no improved value you have got nothing. What we hear from Mr Barr in the absence of facts and truth is his standard tactic of misleading and using scare tactics—this is all for the property developers and for foreign investment. It is not; this is for ordinary families who would like to live in Civic. This is about making sure people can afford to live in our town centres. We hear from those opposite that they want greater density, so why would you then put in place a policy that militates against it?

We have the Greens representative from the government who is always talking about protecting the environment. This policy damages the environment. This policy forces additional greenfield development because it stops development where it should be—in the town centres and particularly in Civic. They are not building anything. You only need to look at the data to know this happened before the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd job cuts of 14,473 public servants, and the policy did not work then. A large amount of the moneys collected in the first couple of years would be holdovers from the old system where buildings were approved under the change of use charge.

Those opposite forget that if we can get the stimulus going, if we can have more people living in Civic, you get more rates, you might get more land tax and there might be other charges that will cover the core services. But you are not going to get that when it is not happening. I am sure Mr Barr would like to call it utopia; others might call it a fool’s paradise. To have a tax that collects nothing makes you look more and more like Wayne Swan every day. The mining tax was going to bring back the surplus. It was not going to affect investment; it was not going to affect the industry; it was not going to affect anything. We hear lines from Mr Barr on this tax. “No, it’s the perfect tax. It doesn’t deter. It doesn’t have an effect. It doesn’t change the cost of anything.” I am not sure what you were taught in economics, but when a charge is put on, the charge is normally passed on.

Let us look at what would have happened, for instance, at the Manhattan site. A number of analyses have been done, and I will go through one. The property at the Manhattan site which overlooks Glebe Park was a C grade office building of 4,000 square metres. It had a year to run with the ATO and the price was about $21 million, including almost $3 million of rental. Parties looked at it for two things—knock down and rebuild as residential or refurbish as office accommodation. If you wanted to refurbish it, it would have cost at least $16 million if you could have got a tenant, but there was no change of use charge payable at the time. Remember, this was before the lease variation charge. Total demolition—build a new office building hoping to get a tenant, change of use charge payable. Total demolition—build residential apartments, with approximately 340 units, change of use charge payable.

The market determined the value would be about $19 million to $21 million depending on the use. A developer with an interest in residential secured the property and the payments were made as follows: the change of use charge, approved value of

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