Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Budget Measures) Bill
The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (18:03): I rise today to speak briefly on the Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Budget Measures) Bill. This is the first Liberal budget we have seen for 12 years, and I am sure I was not the only person who was waiting with anticipation to see what the budget would contain.
The bill contains measures to consolidate the Independent Gambling Authority within Consumer and Business Services. The move to consolidate was a recommendation made by the Hon. Tim Anderson QC, who undertook a review of gambling regulation in South Australia. Liquor licensing fees will also increase as a result of the review.
Concessions for new mines will be removed from 2020, as well the so-called 'rubble royalties' charged to councils. The government will also be closing down the Office of the Commissioner for Kangaroo Island. The government will be better regulating properties that have underground petroleum storage facilities, and I understand this regulation will require all facilities to have a licence. A requirement of the licence will be for the licence holder to bear the cost of regulating issues such as contamination, vapours and odour.
I understand this will be charged on a cost-recovery basis. In theory, cost recovery sounds reasonable; however, I am concerned that the method the government will use to calculate the cost expended will be in excess of the actual cost. I have raised similar issues with regard to other government departments and hope that the EPA will not fall into a similar line.
The government will be reducing land tax receipts from 2020 by changing the thresholds which are currently used to calculate land tax. I have previously suggested the government should put a cap on either total land tax receipts or individual land tax accounts. This would mean that those who have to pay land tax would not face a sudden increase in their account should the evaluation increase or the government chooses to change the scale of rates used to calculate land tax. I have put this suggestion to the government and, whilst they have provided reasons why this would not be practicable, I would urge them to continue to investigate the matter.
The final matter I would like to speak about is the stamp duty exemption for family farm transfers. I understand the government is extending the exemption to include transfers which may involve a company in recognition of the manner in which some family businesses are structured. Since 2015, the government has also provided a stamp duty exemption for the transfer of businesses. In my eyes, farming is a business, so stamp duty exemption should apply to all farming transfers, not just between family. I raised this at a briefing with the department and was advised that it was a policy matter that farming was not considered a business. Again, this is something the government should investigate to consider changing.
Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.