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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 October 2017) . . Page.. 4299 ..

The opposition, of course, has to ask the question: what will be the impact of these changes on the rental market both in terms of supply and in terms of the amount that people are actually paying? The changes are obviously going to make owning a unit in Canberra substantially less attractive. The only feasible option for landlords is to pass on the significant increases to their tenants, who will in turn suffer financially.

It is still more bad luck for any investor who has had trouble finding a tenant because they will be slugged with paying land tax whether the property is occupied or not. On top of all this, the discount for early payment of rates has dropped to one per cent. At the same time, unit owners are facing double-digit increases for their rates and land tax bills. Unfortunately, this is something that the ACT Labor-Greens government calls fair.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that the government has not provided any real justification for the changes to the methodology for calculating general rates paid on units. Units do not require the same level of services as single dwellings, and this is a point the government has made repeatedly when trying to encourage people to move into units. Therefore it simply does not make sense that the significant increases in rates do not correlate with any additional benefits provided to unit owners by the government.

In short, the new calculation methodology is unfair and is causing vulnerable Canberrans real financial hardship. It is quite possibly going to see rents go up even more and perhaps the supply of properties go down. We are going to see a real impact as a result of this government’s policy. This Assembly today has an opportunity to send a message to the government that we, as representatives of our community, simply do not support the government’s approach to increasing rates across the board but particularly with regard to units and apartments.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (11.24): I move the amendment circulated in my name:

Omit all words after “That this Assembly”, substitute:

“(1) notes:

(a) the ACT Government announced changes to the methodology for calculating general rates on units in the 2016 Budget, before the last Territory election;

(b) the Assembly has legislated this change through the passage of the Revenue Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (No 2) in May 2017;

(c) the general rates calculations for multi-unit dwellings are now based on the total Average Unimproved Value (AUV) of the land rather than the AUV of the individual unit, with this change being phased in over the next two years;

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