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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 29 October 2015) . . Page.. 3892 ..

There seems to be an expectation that if someone is in business in this city they are wealthy. I think the truth is that in most cases people in business will see that their bills are paid, that their staff are paid and that their entitlements are paid well before they start paying themselves. While things have been tough in this city for too long, business owners have gone without to make sure that those that rely on them do not, while the government is continually rolling out an attitude of increasing fees and charges. It acts as a disincentive for these people to be enterprising and innovative and to come up with new ideas. That is the biggest travesty we have here today.

In these situations, the fee increases leave very little choice for the business but to pass these on where they can. But bear in mind that for a business that has had a 38 per cent increase in its government land charges just in the past couple of years it is unreasonable to expect a consumer to be able to face that price slug. The rate of increase in contrast with the rate of return is simply not fair. It is not fair on business and it is not fair on families, pensioners or older Australians, particularly those who are self-funded, who have done the right thing, who have tried to supplement their retirement and are not reliant on government welfare. But the cost of living in this city is going up far in excess of what they could ever have imagined. And now these people who have done the right thing and whom we should be supporting are struggling.

Proof of the legacy of this unfairness will come about soon enough when Canberra rate payers and taxpayers go to the polls in a little under a year. This will be the true measure of the methodology, the ideology, applied and, most importantly, the priorities of those opposite when it comes to servicing all of Canberra.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (4.16): I thank Mr Wall for the opportunity to talk again about tax reform in this place. The 2010 Review of Australia’s Future Tax System, also known as the Henry review, found that the states and territories levied some of the worst taxes in Australia. A key finding of the Henry tax review was that there should be no role for any stamp duties, including on property, in a modern Australian tax system. The review recommended that stamp duties be abolished, with revenue replaced through a switch to more efficient taxes, such as a broad-based land tax.

The need for reform was further highlighted in the 2012 ACT taxation review, which was the first major study of our own tax system since self-government. The 2012 ACT taxation review, or the Quinlan review, showed that conveyance duty was a highly volatile source of revenue as it increases and decreases with changes in the property cycle which are very difficult to forecast.

As a result of those two reviews conducted in the past five years, which of course build upon countless tax reviews over previous decades that drew exactly the same conclusions, in the 2012-13 territory budget I announced a plan to transition the territory’s tax system to a fairer, simpler and more efficient model. This involved replacing transaction taxes on conveyances and insurance premiums and cutting payroll tax—so reducing three of the worst taxes levied by state and territory

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