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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 11 August 2016) . . Page.. 2761 ..

In the end we have a choice. We can choose unfair, inefficient and volatile taxes or we can choose simpler, fairer and more efficient taxes. We know which taxes damage the economy, damage households, slow down growth, slow down job creation, slow down investment, and they are the transaction taxes: stamp duty, taxes on insurance, all of those bad taxes that everyone recommends getting rid of.

We are doing that. We have abolished tax on insurance. You no longer pay tax on your home contents insurance, your motor vehicle insurance, your life insurance and, if you are a business, any professional indemnity insurance or business insurances. We are the first jurisdiction in Australia to get rid of that bad tax because we want people to insure. If you tax it you make it more expensive and fewer people will insure. That is a bad outcome for the community.

The best tax that is available to our level of government is general rates. It is the fairest, it is the hardest to avoid and it is the simplest tax. It does not distort economic activity and it means that the tax burden is shared fairly across the community and revenue each year is predictable.

I make this very simple point: each year we need to continue to provide hospitals, schools, ambulance services, police and emergency services, firefighters and the rest. We have to make a prediction and guess how many houses will sell in Canberra each year to try to guess how much revenue will come from that bad tax that is stamp duty. That those opposite think that it is fair that when you move house the government taxes you $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000—if you think that that is fair, if you want more stamp duty, if you want housing affordability to get worse—

Mr Coe interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Come to order, Mr Coe.

MR BARR: If you think that tax is not high enough, then the option is there for you to make—

MADAM SPEAKER: Address the chair!

MR BARR: The option is there, Madam Speaker, for those opposite to make stamp duty even higher. Why don’t you hit first homebuyers, pensioners and those who are downsizing, anyone who needs to move house at any point? Tax them more.

Mrs Jones interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Come to order, Mrs Jones.

MR BARR: That is your position. It is not ours. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

Members interjecting—

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