State Taxation Acts Amendment Bill 2017- Council’s Amendments

22 Jun 2017

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I rise to speak on the State Taxation Acts Amendment Bill 2017 and the amendments that have come from the Legislative Council. The Greens welcome the removal of the property valuations part of this bill because a number of councils contacted me and my Greens colleagues expressing their concern with this section of the bill, which changes the revaluation cycle from every two years to every year and transfers that responsibility from municipalities to the valuer-general. Their main concerns around this particular aspect are that there was no consultation at all with the local government sector over these changes, that it would cost councils more having to contribute to the cost of the revaluations taking place every year instead of every two years and that by transferring the revaluations to the valuer-general from councils it will have serious staffing and industrial relations implications and may result in the retrenchment of some council staff. We welcome it being taken out of this bill.

The opportunity is now given to the government to actually go out there and consult with the local government sector and with local councils and, if they are determined to get this particular change through, to make sure that they do so in a way that local councils are happy with and are across what is actually occurring in that area. We will be supporting that amendment.

In addition, the member for Malvern made a couple of pointed remarks in regard to the Greens and wanted to lecture us on taxes. I will just respond to the member for Malvern by saying that if he or his party is concerned about dealing with population growth, as they purport to be, and if they are fair dinkum about infrastructure, as they purport to be, they actually need to have the revenue to pay for that infrastructure. We know what the alternative is.

I am reminded of another broken promise, and that is the broken promise to not cut public sector jobs. That was the promise the previous government made when they were in opposition, yet when they came into government they cut public sector jobs. That is exactly how, I imagine, they would intend to pay for any of their promises, to just cut public sector jobs.

It is funny that they will talk up moving public sector jobs to regional areas, which of course is good for their economies, and then not deal with the effect of cutting the public sector in other areas. That is a real contradiction and hypocrisy on their part. I say to the member for Malvern that if he is not going to have a revenue base to deliver infrastructure or deal with population growth, the only alternative the Liberals have is to cut public sector jobs again. On that note, we will be supporting these amendments.

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