Page 837 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 22 March 2017
other jurisdictions as well. Whilst Victoria has a particular model which is of interest to Ms Le Couteur and to the Assembly, I think it would be worthwhile to canvass other states and perhaps even jurisdictions abroad to see whether there are attractive ways forward elsewhere.
We also need to seriously analyse the costs and benefits of the present arrangements in the ACT against the Victorian approach, including analysis of whether the current land tax regime, including the actual tax rate, is a disincentive to renting vacant properties. We need to consider whether some people are making the decision that for even long periods of time it is better to forego rent in order not to be hit with land tax and other costs and risks associated with renting. This is, in part, the basis for my new clause in my amendment.
It is important that we acknowledge that the ACT has a transient population and that there can be many reasons why properties are vacant; some for a short time and some for a long time. We have to make sure that we are mindful of genuine reasons why someone might have a vacant property, not just, as Ms Berry said, as a long-term wealth store.
In approaching this task, it is important that evidence is collated and analysis is conducted without prejudicing the result. We must be careful, as we are looking to solve a problem, that we do not choose an approach that makes little or no difference or, worse, actually creates other unintended problems. Every time we change tax policies there is a very real possibility of causing harm to individuals and the wider community because we do not understand the full implications or ramifications of that policy. Therefore, we have to make sure that we have a very considered approach to this issue.
Madam Speaker, I formally move my amendment, which has been circulated, to Ms Berry’s amendment:
Insert new paragraph (3)(c):
“(c) assess whether the current ACT land tax regime provides a disincentive to renting vacant properties; and”.
In conclusion, the opposition is open to a discussion on the land tax regime in the ACT and exploring other options which generate a fairer approach to how land tax is collected in the ACT, with particular focus on encouraging more affordable housing and a more efficient property sector in the ACT.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (10.25): I want to briefly speak on Mr Coe’s amendment to my amendment to Ms Le Couteur’s motion. I reckon Mr Coe’s amendment is already covered in my amendment at 3(b), which states:
consider the effectiveness of a vacancy tax, land tax arrangements or similar measures in the context of the research and ongoing consultation with key