Page 345 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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The barrier-free system will also make the procedure for claiming concessions and exemptions easier for buyers by providing for claims to be made at the point of registration. The strengths of this bill in the transition to the new barrier-free system will reach the people that need it most, first homebuyers.

This bill builds on the reforms the government is already making to phase out stamp duty and will benefit all Canberrans looking to enter the housing market. Importantly, the bill will benefit young families and couples entering the property market by improving housing affordability throughout the conveyancing process. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (10.57): I am also pleased to have the opportunity to speak briefly today in support of the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (No 2), a mark of progress in simplifying and streamlining property transactions. The purchase of a property is something many Canberrans aspire to do. However, few of us are well acquainted with the formal conveyancing process, and the transaction to acquire our dream home can become stressful and confusing. It was not so long ago that I was navigating these many steps myself as a first homebuyer in the Belconnen town centre.

Even with the assistance of a legal professional to purchase a property, buyers still have a heavy load of paperwork to complete and payments to wrap their heads around before settlement, such as insurance applications, loan documents, and payment of their deposit and conveyance duty. It is a complicated process.

This bill contains a number of measures to simplify this process. The payment of conveyance duty and lodgement of title documents will be consolidated, exemption categories will be streamlined and nominal fees will be done away with.

Under the current model of conveyancing, the many steps that must be completed to purchase a property are heavily concentrated in the period between the exchange of contracts and settlement date. The need to stick to strict time frames can make the whole process seem pressured and stressful. One of the steps that currently need to be completed before settlement is the payment of conveyance duty.

To pay their conveyance duty, a buyer must lodge their duty documents with the ACT Revenue Office, claim any relevant concessions or exemptions, make payment, and have the contract of sale stamped as proof of payment. All of this must occur before settlement. These documents are then lodged again after settlement with Access Canberra to affect a transfer of title.

The Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill introduces a new system, the barrier-free model. Under the barrier-free model, the buyer does not have to worry about paying conveyance duty until after settlement has been completed and the buyer has acquired title to the property. After settlement, the buyer will lodge their conveyance documents just once, with Access Canberra, and then will have 14 days to pay their duty.

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