Page 1902 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 6 June 2017

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firewood merchants, real estate agents, security businesses and particularly energy providers. As is the way for us on this side of the chamber, I have done my consultation with operators and businesses potentially affected by the bill. My consultation was mostly aimed at those operators who may bear the brunt of any unintended consequences of this particular piece of legislation. Most stakeholders that I spoke to were not too concerned by these particular changes. However the overwhelming sentiment expressed always is that more needs to be done to make it easier for businesses in the ACT to start to grow and to continue to flourish into the future.

Overwhelmingly, though, the bill seeks to deliver no new jobs and does little to build confidence in the business community. However, many changes are a common-sense approach to regulation, namely the changes to the Domestic Animals Act, which no longer has breed-specific requirements for the handling of dogs, particularly greyhounds being required to wear a muzzle when they are in public. Likewise, there are changes to the security industry regulation. It always baffled me why it was that an installer of basic security products like a security flyscreen door on your home front door required the same level of security training, licensing and registration as a security guard at a nightclub or at a major public event. I see that as a great disparity in the requirements.

However, there is certainly some creep in what the government’s red tape reduction bill is overwhelmingly intended to do. Certainly the fact that “reduction” forms part of the bill’s title highlights the question of whether the changes to the Agents Act and the changes to the energy industry levy in fact reduce an administrative burden. The changes to the Agents Act do not reduce red tape but instead introduce new offence provisions for current licensed agents with relation to compliance and auditing of their trust accounts. Whilst the opposition acknowledges that this anomaly does need to be rectified, the introduction of new offences is hardly a reduction of red tape. The other aspect of this bill that is of concern is the proposed change to the energy industry levy. The bill seeks to completely change the calculation formula for the energy industry levy paid by providers of a number of forms of energy. Again, it is not consistent with the intent of reducing the administrative burden on business but rather is more in the vein of taxation reform.

Much of the concern that I have with the bill does lie with the energy industry levy calculation and I note that my office has contacted, on a number of occasions, Minister Ramsay’s office, in an effort to understand the hows and whys of this calculation. However, we were fobbed off with a cursory email this morning and the only information that was provided is information that is already on the public record. The tradition of the opposition receiving a face-to-face briefing with representatives of the directorate seems to have gone wayward on this issue and I am not quite sure why that is. We will put it down to the minister still having his training wheels on.

The question that I did really want answered was: will this new calculation actually raise or make any significant alteration to the forecast revenue that the government is likely to collect as a result of the change in calculation? This question can, of course, be answered through other means at another time, most notably estimates hearings, as

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