Page 234 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 February 2018
a motion moved by Mr Coe and amended by Mr Barr. However, the amendment was made with considerable input from the Greens.
That amendment states in part that the government will:
… monitor the impact of the recent tax and concession policy changes as these roll out, including their impact on:
(i) cost of living for Canberrans;
(ii) Canberra property owners who are on low or fixed incomes; and
(iii) Canberrans who are both income and asset poor; and
(b) conduct financial and social impact analysis on the adequacy of concessions and the eligibility criteria for these, and provide this analysis to the Assembly not later than Budget Day 2018.
Actually, I would make one suggestion for the motion, which of course I have not seen as yet. When it is moved, it might be preferable to postpone the reporting period so that the public accounts committee has the benefit of seeing the analysis, which the government is already committing to doing, on the impact of these taxation and concession changes. Basically, the government has a lot more resources to do that work. I think it would be very useful work for the public accounts committee to see.
We have been talking about the issues with the taxation system for some time. Mr Barr talked for a long time about the economic inefficiency of stamp duty. He is totally correct. Australia has been talking about this for many years, at least since 2000, in the GST review. Every state government at that stage signed on to the idea that we would like to have less stamp duty and move more into land-based taxes. As Mr Barr notes, the political difficulties of doing this are presumably the reason why the ACT is the only government that has so far taken that step.
But I would also like to comment that this analysis has been done on the basis of economic efficiency. Economic efficiency is important, but it is not the only important thing. Social justice and equity are also important. I think that is where this debate has not had enough input.
This is also relevant to how we work out the rating system between single home owners and multi-unit owners. Clearly, there has to be some equity between those. Clearly, the people whose rates have gone up recently feel, like most people feel when their taxation has gone up, that this is not the right thing. This is a reasonable position for them to hold. I will declare that I am a resident owner in a multi-unit development. So I am one of these people. It is a reasonable debate as to what is the correct balance between single households and multi-units—and, of course, commercial rates.
I would also in this debate like to highlight, given the social equity issues, some of the problems that we currently have with our deferment schemes. There are schemes for deferment. One of them is an age-based deferment. Looking into it, it is crazy; that is the only description for it. I have realised why it is so crazy. It was introduced,