Canberra’s rates revenue triples

Alistair Coe

THE release of the September quarter “Consolidated Financial Report” confirms the ACT government’s path for higher taxes is under the guise of tax reform, says Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe. 

Mr Coe says the ACT government’s “taxation reform” began in 2012–13 with the stated aim of creating a “fairer, simpler and more efficient tax system for the Territory”. 

“The heart of the reform was the abolition of inefficient taxes, notably conveyance duty over 20 years, and replacing the revenue lost with increases in general rates,” Mr Coe says. 

“The results in 2016–17, compared with 2011-12, the last year before the reforms began, show that in just five years, rates revenue has more than doubled from $209 million to $452 million, and yet conveyance revenue has increased by a third from $239 million to $316 million.”

If this is shocking, Mr Coe says there’s more pain to come.

“This year’s budget will see commercial rates revenue increase by 5 per cent in 2017–18 and residential rates revenue increase by 12 per cent. And for good measure, land tax revenue increases by 18 per cent,” he says. 

“After 2017–18, commercial rates revenue will increase by 8 per cent each year. Residential rates revenue will increase by 11 per cent in 2018–19 and then 9 per cent for the last two years of the forward estimates.

“According to the government’s own figures, by 2020–21, nine years of ‘taxation reform’ will see rates revenue triple from $209 million to $627 million while conveyance revenue will increase from $239 million to $288 million.

“So much for substituting one tax for another. Worse still, the conveyance revenue estimate for 2020–21 already looks suspiciously low. The financial report confirms conveyance revenue in 2016–17 was $316 million. This is $49 million higher than estimated in the 2016–17 budget.”

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