State Taxation Acts Further Amendment Bill 2017
Written on the 12 December 2017
12 December 2017
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
I rise to speak to the State Taxation Acts Further Amendment Bill 2017. In doing so, I note the comments made by previous speakers in relation to this. The other day when I was discussing with the shadow Treasurer the implications of this bill it reminded me of the conversations I have had with local councillors and the letters and other documentation I have received from concerned residents. We know that the government were unsuccessful with the first bill that came on because of the bad policy that it was the bad bill that they had brought into this place. They have tried to redo it, but in fact nothing much changes.
As Mr Ondarchie and others have said, this is just a tax grab. It is going to have a number of very significant implications that this government has failed to understand. I note again the concerns about the initial bill that were generated by members of my community and in my local council where I reside. The Stonnington council wrote to me way back in May about the initial act. The council's concerns in relation to the government's undertaking were that there was no consultation, it will cost more and land tax will increase. The council was also concerned about supplementary valuations. The council said also that there was no relationship to rate cap and there were staffing and industrial relations implications. There was concern also about customer service, and there were additional concerns. I am not going to go through all of those concerns. I just highlight them because the issue of no consultation has occurred again with this bill.I raise that aspect because of the concerns of sporting bodies. I note that the government failed to consult with sporting bodies prior to introducing this bill. It just goes to show the nature of this government. It fails time and time again to consult on so many important issues. For sporting organisations this is going to be very problematic. The ones I am thinking of are Golf Victoria and Tennis Victoria, which have obviously raised their concerns about the valuation of land tax and what that will mean to those sporting facilities if they are not used exclusively for sport.
We all know that tennis clubs, bowling clubs and golf clubs use their facilities not just for sport but for weddings, for wakes, for meetings and for other social events. Why shouldn't they? Why shouldn't those clubs be able to do that? It is a very sneaky thing by this government to put this in terms of how the State Revenue Office has used a very benign interpretation of what is exclusive. That will have a huge impact. I doubt whether a lot of sporting bodies actually know what this sneaky government is trying to do and how that will hit those clubs and affect a lot of people who enjoy regular sporting activities and use the clubs for other reasons, as I have said, because it will drive up costs.Mr Ondarchie made reference to a number of things in his contribution. I want to reiterate one of those because again it goes to management by the government and the way it operates. He was talking about the blowout in projects. We had the announcement today of the blowout for the West Gate tunnel, which started off back in 2014 I think as costing $500 million. Today we learned it is going to be $6.7 billion, so that is a blowout of $6.2 billion. The Metro Tunnel was promised to be $9 billion and it is now $11.03 billion, a blowout of $2.03 billion. The level crossing removals, that great signature policy, was promised to be $5 billion and now it is $7.9 billion, a blowout of $2.9 billion. North-east link was to be $5 billion and now it is $16.5 billion, a blowout of $11.5 billion. Acting President, I know you are looking stunned; so am I. It is an extraordinary amount.
Ms Shing Are you reflecting on the Chair?Ms CROZIER No, not at all. I know that he is very concerned about the blowouts of your government, Ms Shing.
Eastwest link was promised to cost nought to cancel. What has it cost us? It has cost $1.3 billion. I do not know what the figure is, but it is around $24 billion in blowouts.Mr Ondarchie interjected.
Ms CROZIER It is $23.93 billion.Why does this government need this bill that we are talking about today? Because they need every cent they can get. This is a tax grab to pay for these extraordinary, irresponsible, unbelievable billion-dollar blowouts of taxpayers money. And that is why I find it unbelievable to even think that this government has got any credibility. Thankfully the Victorian public know that they cannot manage money, because here it is the proof is in the pudding. We know these projects are expensive. They just throw money around like confetti. It just goes flying out like it grows on trees, and it is not anyone's consideration because it will be there tomorrow. No, it is the Victorian taxpayers money here, and somebody has got to pay for these projects. When you blow it out by $24 billion it is an extraordinary amount of course they are going to have tax grabs all over the place.
The shadow Treasurer, Mr O'Brien, so eloquently put it in his speech in this debate in relation to how this would affect so many aspects of how we operate. One of those areas is in relation to local government. He said, and I will quote from him:The core of this bill is a proposal to take away from local governments the power to undertake their own valuations of land and to centralise it in the valuer-general and, on top of that, to move from biennial valuation of land that is, every two years land being valued to land being revalued every single year.
And what is that going to do? That is going to bring more money into the coffers of this absolutely dreadful and hopeless government. As we can see, we know where it goes. They promised no taxes. Let us think what the Premier did. He got up on the steps out here I do not know who the Channel 7 reporter wasMr Ondarchie Peter Mitchell.
Ms CROZIER Peter Mitchell and looked down the barrel and said to the Victorian community, 'I promise you, Peter, no taxes'. How can anyone believe a word this man says? He said that on the eve of the election. He said the eastwest link was not going to cost a cent, and it is costing us $1.3 billion and rising.Ms Shing interjected.
Ms CROZIER You said you would fix the Country Fire Authority mess where is it sitting on this notice paper, Ms Shing? Where is this debate? I cannot even see it. It is order of the day 16. You cannotMs Shing interjected.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Ramsay) Order! Ms Shing!Ms CROZIER The point is this Premier has no compunction in being so disingenuous as to look down the cameras telling Victorians that he will not impose one extra tax, and we have got huge taxes. We have had massive taxes under this regime. And it is a regime; look how he operates. He is an absolutely extraordinary leader that does not take any communities into consideration. We have seen that with sky rail. We have seen it with this bill. We have got councils and so many people who are very concerned about the impacts to how they will operate. And what is more, the community are not so stupid. They are not so blindsided.
In conclusion, I think all Victorians have not been asleep. They know that this government has been in power for three years. They have seen the extraordinary waste of money in so many areas and no consultation, and this bill is absolutely no different from it. It is a tax grab, it is disingenuous and it is to pay for the $24 billion of financial blowouts by this government. And we are only into year 3; imagine what is going to happen in year 4.