Page 4103 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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ordinary ratepayers in the suburbs who see nothing for it. That is why I think it is important, given we have had now one term of these reforms, that before we move into the next phase for the 2016-17 budget that the government table in the Assembly the analysis that shows the impact of what they are doing.

We might have a little bit of honesty at the same time, and they might actually tell us what the schedule is for abolishing stamp duty. The minister notes in the amendment he will move:

… that the Government is abolishing duty on conveyances;

If you are abolishing it, what is the timetable? Tell us what the program is. Tell us when it is all gone so that people can say, “Well, okay, my rates have gone up but at least they’ve got rid of stamp duty.” The problem is that rates are going up and stamp duty take is now on the increase and they are not getting rid of it. The Treasurer himself has been forced to admit that he cannot tell us when it will happen. He has done the pirouette, he has done the quickstep, he has done the foxtrot and he has done the tango through a number of committee hearings where it has changed. People are not hearing with any confidence from this government that they are committed to abolishing duty on conveyancing, because they are not. They cannot tell us, they will not tell us because they are not committed. “I’ve abolished stamp duty.” It keeps going up. He cannot tell us. He cannot look anybody in the eye here and say, “This is the timetable for it.”

Of course he can predict what will happen. He can give us a guideline. But he will not give us a guideline because as those taxes go, rates move inextricably towards tripling. It is very simple maths: if you get rid of all these taxes and you pile it up onto the rates bill, the rates must triple. He should have some conviction and have some honesty on the numbers that he must have. He must have asked for these numbers. We have tried to get them but, of course, they are always evasive. We got to the stage where members would remember that he had to collate a document. He had to invent a document to answer a motion in the Assembly because he either cannot or he will not tell the people of the ACT through this place what he is doing with their rates.

If he cannot do it, he is negligent because he should have done that work before we embarked upon this so-called tax reform. If he will not, you have to ask the question why. The answer is stark for all to see—it is in the Quinlan report—rates must triple to accommodate these changes.

We have had the first term. We are moving towards an election year—it is about 330 days until the next election. It is, I think, reasonable to ask for an analysis of what the impact has been. It is reasonable, I think, for the public to know what has happened to the finances and what is happening to their cost of living as a result of these changes. I think it is reasonable that the government table that before the next budget so people can see the results of these reforms.

If the government had the courage of their convictions, they would do that. I am sure if I turn over the Treasurer’s amendment it will have some guff about, “We’re going to tell you in the next budget what the next five years are.” Nobody will believe it

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