Barr’s failed tax reform a burden for Canberrans during cost-of-living crisis


Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee will today call on Andrew Barr and the ACT Labor-Greens government to come clean on its failed tax reform which continues to be a significant burden on Canberrans during a cost-of-living crisis and has failed to make housing more affordable.

In a motion that will be moved in the Legislative Assembly, Ms Lee will also highlight that Andrew Barr’s tax reform is far from revenue neutral as promised and in the first 10 years of the reform revenue from:

  • Payroll tax has increased by more than 225 per cent
  • General rates have increased by more than 250 per cent
  • Land tax has increased by more than 260 per cent, and the
  • Overall amount of revenue this government receives from taxation has increased by 207 per cent.

“When we compare the audited financial statements for the 2012-13 budget against the 2022-23 budget, it clearly shows that Andrew Barr and the Labor-Greens government has had a significant windfall in the overall money it has squeezed from taxing Canberrans despite promising not to do exactly this,” Ms Lee said.

“If you look specifically at residential stamp duty, the tax Andrew Barr promised to phase out, it is clear the ACT Labor-Greens government is collecting more revenue now from this tax than it did a decade ago.

“At the same time, Andrew Barr has slugged Canberrans with an eyewatering increase in rates, which have almost tripled.

“During the 2012 election the Canberra Liberals pointed out that rates under this government would in fact triple. At the time, the Labor party called that a lie. Almost 12 years on, it is clear that the warning sounded by the Canberra Liberals then has become a reality and it is hitting thousands of Canberrans hard during this cost of living crisis.”

Ms Lee will also point to the broken promise by Andrew Barr that his tax reform would make housing more affordable for Canberrans whether they are buying or renting.

“Over the last few years, the ACT has consistently been ranked as one of the most expensive jurisdictions to buy or rent a home.” Ms Lee said.

“The ACT is in a unique situation where the ACT government has both the privilege and responsibility of Territory and local government powers and there are a number of policy levers within the control of Andrew Barr that he refuses or fails to pull.

“Those levers include land supply and taxes along with planning laws and processes, all of which influence the housing market which, of course, effects price and access.

“Many have widely speculated that Andrew Barr and the Labor-Greens government has taken a deliberate decision in restricting the supply of land in the ACT to maximise the return on land sales. And given the track record of this government on its failure to deliver affordable housing, it would be hard to disagree with that.” Ms Lee concluded.