Page 344 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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This is particularly relevant for purchases that are made off the plan that may not actually eventuate.

Madam Speaker, the opposition see this change as an important reform and are happy to support its passage today. Much of the detail will follow in regulations and determinations; so the opposition will closely monitor the process. In the event that there are any unintended consequences as a result of this legislation, the Assembly should move quickly to resolve them. The opposition support the bill.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (10.54): Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (No 2) that the Treasurer introduced to the Assembly on 15 December last year. This bill will help to improve housing affordability for people in my electorate and the whole Canberra community. In particular, this bill introduces welcome changes to stamp duty which will improve housing affordability for people buying off the plan, including for young people entering the market for the first time.

When homebuyers purchase property in the ACT they will no longer need to pay stamp duty up-front when contracts are exchanged. The proposed amendment will instead provide that buyers pay the duty when the lease is transferred. For people purchasing an existing dwelling this will provide a short reprieve from stamp duty. But for those who are purchasing a house or apartment off the plan, this will mean a more substantial benefit.

These homebuyers may not have to pay their stamp duty for a period of years. It will occur at the completion of their home when settlement occurs. This will enable people to make their initial deposit and then have the opportunity to save for their final payments. And there are many of these people in my electorate.

The district of Molonglo Valley is thriving. The first residents in Denman Prospect have just moved into their new homes. New apartments and houses are being built as I speak in Wright, Coombs and other parts of the Molonglo Valley, which will only continue to grow into the future. For Canberrans entering the market and looking at building in these suburbs and others across the ACT, the proposed bill will assist in realising their dream of home ownership.

The bill also proposes to make the often difficult and costly process of buying a home much easier for families. As the Chief Minster described, the ACT will transition to a barrier-free model for collecting conveyance duty. The barrier-free model makes paying of stamp duty straight forward by creating just one point of contact through Access Canberra. These amendments will cut unnecessary red tape by simplifying the transaction process.

Access Canberra will collect all the necessary information on behalf of the ACT Revenue Office, reducing the number of government agencies homebuyers have to directly transact with. This will make sure that taxpayers’ money is being used more efficiently while making the process of buying a house less time consuming and costly.

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