Page 506 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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Let us look at something a little more modest. Compare the difference between a property in O’Malley with an unimproved land value of $650,000 and $3,574 a year in rates—again, a very prestigious dress-circle address—and a comparable underlying property in Fyshwick with the same land value and paying $30,665 a year in rates. That is about 10 times the residential equivalent. That is one of the biggest costs to business in the ACT and one of the biggest drivers of preventing investment in the ACT.

Ms Cody also points to payroll tax. Yes, we have one of the highest payroll tax exemption thresholds in the country. In fact, we do have the highest. But we also have the most punitive payroll tax system once you start paying payroll tax over that $2 million figure. Businesses with over $5 million in payroll tax are going to be somewhere about the second most expensive in the country. From there on we are pretty much the most expensive jurisdiction in the country to run your business in. Whilst we have the most generous concessional rate or tax-free threshold, when it starts it comes on hard it is certainly an inhibiter of growth.

Mr Barr: And it is the poor banks that have to pay that. It is terrible, isn’t it?

MR WALL: They are destined to always be a small business in the ACT under the Barr Labor government.

In the time remaining it is important that we reflect on the wonderful quote the Chief Minister made back in 2015 on ABC radio. He said:

The private sector are not exactly stepping up to the plate at the moment.

They are making large investments, and we are seeing that. He continued:

We are going overseas for that because we don’t think we’re going to get that locally.

The Chief Minister at the time—I am happy to see if that is still his mindset—did not believe local industry was doing enough to grow and invest in his community. We saw just last week the scrapping of the convention centre business case. That is something the business community in the ACT for a long time has been calling out for as an essential investment to grow the tourism business in the ACT, to grow business confidence in the ACT and to actually make the national capital a destination for conferencing. But, of course, the Chief Minister blamed the commonwealth government for that having to be scrapped, saying that they were not serious about it.

No government in its right mind invests in a multibillion dollar project without a full business case being conducted, except for this one opposite who have already committed to a second stage of light rail without a business case even being completed. It is purely reckless to imagine another government making the mistakes and the follies that these guys opposite continue to make time and again.

The attitude of this government is to ignore local business and at many opportunities cut them off at the knees. Dare I point to the green bin trial that they are undertaking

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