Page 5175 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 28 November 2017

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The lease variation charge is something that we on this side of the chamber have often talked about. It is a policy that has never raised the amount of revenue that the government has anticipated that it would raise. We have also seen a remission of LVC to some developers worth millions of dollars in some cases. So it is an inconsistent tax on development and it has not been particularly effective to this point. But earlier this year the Labor/Greens government announced an increase of 300 per cent to the lease variation charge on unit titles as part of the 2016-17 budget. I think that that increase showed the contempt that this government has for the people of Canberra.

The increase was done without consulting with the property and the building industries. It appears to be just an exorbitant tax grab. I asked the planning minister when he found out about this particular tax. I asked whether the Treasurer applied this tax behind the planning minister’s back. “No,” the minister for planning said. In answer to my question, he said:

The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate was involved in the proposed changes for a Lease Variation Charge (LVC) for unit titling as part of the budget consultation process.

He went on to say:

The Directorate—

—as in the planning directorate—

—administers LVC, but is not responsible for setting the LVC charges, which is a Treasury responsibility. It—

—the planning directorate—

—provided data to Treasury about LVC determinations.

In the budget this year, it appears that the government is anticipating quite a high revenue: $125,000,000. On unit titling it said:

The Government will increase the codified Lease Variation Charge required to enable unit titling on certain residential leases to a flat fee of $30,000 per dwelling. This will improve consistency with the “per unit” charges which apply to other types of residential lease variations, and will take effect from 1 July 2017.

We did, earlier this year, have a motion in the Assembly relating to the LVC. It noted that the LVC system is complex and presents opportunities for rationalisations and improvements in consistency. We talked in this place about a review of the full suite of LVC and remissions that apply to residential and mixed-use developments to include consideration of options for simplification of charges; to consider charges in context with the factors that influence the financial viability of redevelopment, including zoning et cetera; to be conducted in consultation with the community,

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