Payroll Tax Rate
The Hon. Dr B. P. V. PEZZUTTI: My question is to the Treasurer. When will the Treasurer honour his commitment to match Queensland's payroll tax rate, which will be reduced on 1 July to 4.95 per cent and again on 1 July 2001 to 4.85 per cent? At present, northern New South Wales businesses pay 6.4 per cent. Will the Treasurer live up to the commitment he made in April 1995, when he said:
When will the Government get down to the Queensland level?
We're going to hack into payroll tax as heavily as we can … we want to get down to the Queensland payroll tax level very soon.
The Hon. M. R. EGAN: For perhaps the twentieth or thirtieth time, I inform the House that I never made any commitment that the Government would reduce payroll tax in New South Wales to the Queensland level.
The Hon. Dr B. P. V. Pezzutti: You said that.
The Hon. M. R. EGAN: No, I did not say that. On numerous occasions I have pointed out to the House that I never said that. Why would I say that a month after an election? If I were going to make such a commitment, I would have made it a month before our election to government, not a month after. One has only to contemplate that to realise the absurdity of the claim. I am pleased to tell the House that the Government has substantially reduced payroll tax from the record levels it reached under the Greiner Government. The Greiner Government increased payroll tax to 7 per cent. This Government has reduced it to 6.4 per cent.
The Hon. J. F. Ryan: Huge—7 per cent!
The Hon. M. R. EGAN: The Hon. J. F. Ryan says "Huge—7 per cent!" It has never been higher than 7 per cent. It reached that record level under the Greiner Government. We have reduced it to 6.4 per cent. From 1 July 2001 it will be reduced to 6.2 percent and by 1 July 2002 it will be reduced to 6 per cent.
The Hon. D. J. Gay: I outed you. I brought you out with my motion on payroll tax.
The Hon. M. R. EGAN: I did not know that you had moved it. I am surprised that the Hon. J. F. Ryan does not know that the payroll tax rate has come down to 6.4 per cent from the Greiner Government level of 7 per cent, or that it will come down to 6.2 per cent on 1 July 2001 and to 6 per cent the year after. No doubt, he is conveniently putting that out of his mind, shutting it out because of embarrassment about the 7 per cent level under the Greiner Government. I can confirm that those payroll tax reductions will still be coming on the designated dates