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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3686 ..


properties from around 21 per cent when tax reform commenced—21 per cent of the 137,792 properties were rental properties in 2011-12—now to 26 per cent of all properties in the ACT, 26 per cent of those 158,195 properties. Far from tax reform driving residential property investors out of the market, we have in fact seen a significant increase in the number of rental properties in the ACT over this period, moving from 21 per cent of all properties in the territory to 26 per cent.

It would come as no surprise to those who understand market economics that when you go back and look at what residential rental costs were for units and houses in the period around 2010-11 and 2011-12 and then compare them to now, you have seen either reductions or stability in rental prices in the ACT, certainly in real terms and in many instances even in nominal terms, in spite of five years of price inflation. This demonstrates that the increase in supply of new housing into the market outstripped the population growth rate—population growing by 11.2 per cent but the number of properties growing by around 15 per cent over that period, a big increase in the number of rental properties—and demonstrates that the government’s taxation policies are in fact assisting in building housing supply, assisting in keeping costs lower than in other jurisdictions. When you compare stamp duty now in the ACT to the other states and territories and compare it to the national average, we are much lower than every other jurisdiction—except Queensland that at the moment has a special rate for owner occupiers—and by 2020-21, on the current trajectory, we will move largely into parity with Queensland and have the lowest amount of stamp duty collected.

In the end, this issue has been now to two territory elections, 2012 and 2016. This debate has been run extensively, and I think everyone’s position in relation to the best way to raise taxation revenue in the territory is pretty well known. I make the simple proposition that it is better, more equitable, simpler, fairer and more efficient for the territory government to collect its revenue by way of a broad-based land tax than it is to rely on stamp duty, and that is why we are making the transition from stamp duty and it is also why, as part of tax reform, we abolished all taxes on insurance products in the ACT. That means that every Canberra household with home contents insurance, with motor vehicle insurance, with building insurance, with life insurance, is saving either 10 per cent or five per cent on their premiums as a result of that tax being abolished, depending on which type of insurance tax it was, and why in the commercial sector we made changes to payroll tax in order to have the highest payroll tax-free threshold in this nation, to encourage the growth of small and medium-sized enterprise in the city.

In the end, any government has a choice as to how it raises its revenue. We have chosen the simplest, the fairest and the most efficient mechanism to do so. I commend my amendment to the Assembly.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (5.46): I will not be supporting Mr Coe’s motion. It is quite clear from his motion that it was not really a serious attempt to work through the pluses and minuses of tax reform. Instead it was clearly a political attack on the Greens and the ALP, which is fair enough in this context, but it completely misses the real issues that we need to consider about the taxation reform


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