Taxing Times

Taxing Times

"There was a lot of media attention on people wanting concessions, so the government had to deal with a dynamic environment in terms of changes,"Fantasia says. "As a decision was made, such as lowering rates or introducing concessions, the system needed to be changed quickly to deal with that environment.

"When the government makes a change to benefit a particular sector, the public perception is that it is a minor change. However, even a small change can have significant ramifications throughout the system and can become a major issue."

As a result of submissions to the government ESL review panel, several changes to the levy were announced in the 2000/2001 state budget. These included a reduction in the amount collected directly from the public of $24 million.

Also, the levies on vacant land were brought into line with the levies on rural land. Changes to levy rates for the land use categories involved significant reductions of rates for commercial, residential, rural, other and vacant land while rates for the industrial category were increased.

A new land use category called "special community use"was developed to enable cemeteries, hospitals, retired, aged and nursing home accommodation, social welfare, halls, Scouts and Guides premises, churches, youth clubs and child health clinics to receive reductions. The single farming enterprise ruling also impacted owners of other contiguous/adjoining properties, who could apply for a reduction in the number of fixed fees charged.

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