Page 4114 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015
We have also talked about housing affordability in other areas and the variation 306 solar aspects. Again, the requirements for the solar aspects of variation 306 are adding, according to various industry groups, about $40,000 to $50,000 to the cost of houses. Mr Rattenbury is looking up. He understands this. Because of the requirements to build in certain ways, it is going to cost an extra $40,000 to $50,000 to build in many cases. That is another impost on housing affordability. We have said that we will not continue the lease variation charge in Civic and the town centres and the solar aspects of variation 306. We have also talked much about land release and the need to improve that.
We have made it very clear in the last term and consistently through this term that we will not be putting the $250 million or $260 million—it is going up it seems at about $10 million every year—of stamp duty revenue onto people’s rates. I cannot be clearer. So do not come into this place and say, “You have not talked about tax reform; you have not talked about housing affordability.” It is the Canberra Liberals who have been talking about tax reform. Simply dumping everything onto everybody’s rates is not a sophisticated tax reform. That is not a comprehensive tax reform. That is cruel; that is unfair; that is simplistic. That is causing an immense amount of concern and an immense amount of impost in terms of cost of living for Canberra families out in the suburbs, for retirees, for pensioners who simply cannot afford it.
What we are seeing from this government is a tax reform regime that is aimed at making life easier for the government. Be it about lease variation charge or be it about rates and stamp duty, the major concern is about how Andrew Barr can get as much money as he can into his pockets at the expense of people, at the expense of constituents out there in our suburbs.
Madam Deputy Speaker, we will not be supporting the amendment. I commend Mr Smyth again for bringing this matter before the Assembly. I commend him for the work he has been doing consistently. He may be this territory’s longest serving shadow minister but I assure Mr Barr that he is likely to be the ACT’s shortest serving Chief Minister.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.44): I will be supporting Mr Barr’s amendment today because the ACT Greens believe that tax reform is a warranted policy for this territory. That is why we supported it when the Chief Minister brought tax reform forward at the end of last term and we have continued to make the case. We have looked at the work that has been done by a range of experts over the years on what taxes are inefficient, what taxes are more sustainable and what taxes are more reliable.
We know that government needs to make a certain amount of revenue to provide the services that this city wants and needs. That is what we are talking about here—producing revenue for government in order to be able to run the city and provide the services that our community expects. A range of experts across the board have provided ongoing, clear advice that moving away from transaction-based taxes to something like a land-based tax is a much more sustainable and efficient way to operate a tax system. That is the basis on which we have supported this policy direction and the basis on which we continue to do so. That is why we are seeing