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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 29 November 2018) . . Page.. 5087 ..

do. We are very happy to have this debate about who should pay tax and how the tax burden should be progressively distributed according to ability to pay. That is a fundamental philosophical difference between this side of politics and the conservative side of politics.

It is a great debate to have; it is an important debate to have. But let us be clear: small and medium-sized businesses pay less tax on this side of the border when you look at all taxes combined. For, I think, the eighth year in a row that we have debated this, of all the taxes available to the territory government, land taxes are the most economically efficient. They have the least distortive impact on our economy, which is the fastest growing economy in the country. We have strong business growth; we have strong economic growth; we have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation—

Mr Parton: Yes, easy to rent a place, isn’t it?

MR BARR: and yet all of those things are overlooked by the tedious interjections of the shock jock sitting there on the backbenches of the Liberal Party.

Mr Parton: Thank you, thank you.

MR BARR: You are welcome, Mr Parton. You are welcome. This is an important debate to have, and we very much look forward to this taking place in the course of 2019 and beyond.

Mr Parton interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Parton, maybe you can refrain from interjections.

MR WALL (Brindabella) (12.30): The Chief Minister has been quick to point the finger at the opposition leader and suggest that he has a fairytale view of the taxation system in the ACT, but Mr Barr obviously looks in the mirror and sees an image of Robin Hood. Here is a man who is taking from the rich and giving to the poor as part of what he labels a progressive tax system. The only winner out of this is treasury. Those doing it tough in this town, those who are struggling, have been no better off since things changed under this progressive tax reform some six years ago. Things have got worse. A report today highlights that the ACT has the second least affordable rental market in the country. So this great progressive tax system supposedly making it easier for those doing it tough and harder for those who are succeeding is punishing everyone along the way.

When it comes to commercial property, that has had a multiplier of ten on it. Commercial rates are calculated at nearly ten times the rate of residential property. Commercial property is not about the heart buyer walking in, looking at a property, falling in love with it and paying the premium because that is just what they need to have; it is a business transaction. People are looking at the cost of the property, the cost to maintain the property and the return they are likely to receive on it.

It has got to the point where the government’s tax regime is now being seen by many of the large financial institutions as a significant risk to property in the ACT. Banks

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