The first bills of the new Parliament are on their way to the Governor for assent following Thursday’s sitting, with the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 agreed to in the Legislative Council following its passage through the other House, and the Government Sector Finance Amendment (Grants) Bill 2023 completing its journey in the Legislative Assembly after being passed by the Council earlier in the week. Read on to learn about this and more…
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR WATER
Ministerial statements, provided for under standing order 50, are a chance for ministers to address the House on government policy. On Thursday morning, the Hon Rose Jackson, in her capacity as Minister for Water, made a statement relating to water quality and availability in the town of Walgett, in northwest NSW. The Hon Sarah Mitchell (Nationals), Shadow Minister for Western NSW, also spoke in reply.
INTRODUCED: STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) BILL 2023
The Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2023 was introduced in the Council by Minister John Graham.
Statue law bills dealing with ‘miscellaneous provisions’ are used to make a suite of minor amendments across a large number of Acts in one fell swoop. They’re an efficient approach to keeping legislation up to date, and have been used by NSW governments for more than 35 years as part of the ongoing review and update of the state’s statute book. Such bills typically make minor policy changes, repeal redundant provisions, address any typographical errors, update cross references and outdated material, and the like.
The bill introduced on Thursday is outlined in detail in Minister Graham’s second reading speech. Within Schedule 1 of the bill are proposed minor policy changes to some 35 Acts, while the remaining Schedules deal with other small amendments to keep the state’s legislation current and accurate.
The Minister having summarised the intent of the bill in his second reading speech, debate on the bill was adjourned for five calendar days according to standing order.
PASSED: REVENUE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2023
Passed by the Legislative Assembly earlier in the week, the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 was introduced in the Council by Minister Courtney Houssos.
The bill makes two key changes to legislation. First, it removes a concession in the amount of landholder duty payable by public landholders under the Duties Act 1997. Currently, there is a 10 per cent concessional duty rate when an individual or company acquires an interest of 90 per cent or more in a public landholder (a company that holds NSW land with a value of $2 million or more, and that is listed on a recognised stock exchange or public unit trust scheme). With the changes made by the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2023, the duty would instead be payable in full.
The bill also amends the Land Tax Management Act 1956 to provide for an extension of time during which unoccupied land may be treated as a person’s principal place of residence in relation to the payment of land tax – making the unoccupied land exempt from tax for up to six tax years, rather than the current four years. This could apply in cases where the owner cannot occupy the land due to delays in building work, or where other delays have occurred due to exceptional circumstances beyond the owner’s control.
During the second reading debate, contributions were made by members of the Opposition, The Greens, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and the Government. See all members’ contributions in the Hansard record.
Both the second and third readings of the bill were agreed to on the voices, with the bill then returned to the Assembly, ready to be forwarded to the Governor for assent.
SPEECH OF THE HON JEREMY BUCKINGHAM
It was ‘not quite a first speech’ on Thursday evening when the Hon Jeremy Buckingham addressed members and guests in the chamber, after being elected to the Council at the March state election.
Mr Buckingham was previously a member of the Council from 2011 to 2019, returning this year as the first member of the Legalise Cannabis Party elected to the NSW Parliament. Because he has served in the House before, technically his address wasn’t a ‘first speech’. Instead, Mr Buckingham’s speech was delivered as part of the address-in-reply debate the House has been undertaking in response to the Opening of Parliament speech of the Lieutenant-Governor. Such a debate gives members wide latitude to discuss the government’s agenda and related topics, and was the perfect opportunity for Mr Buckingham to make his first major address to chamber following his return to the Council.