No Utilities Rent for Actew

RiotPost 25 August 2009 10

The ABC has this story on the Federal Court ruling that the ACT government cannot impose a utilities tax as its unconstitutional. Leaving a nice big $18 million hole in the budget surplus. Well done on Queanbeyan on questioning the imposition of these fees.

My question is, does this tax have a connection to the land use fee the govt has placed on utility operators such as Actew and Telstra, who have then passed the cost onto the consumer? Will we see our utilities bills going down, or is it a totally different matter?

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10 Responses to No Utilities Rent for Actew
bd84 bd84 8:56 pm 26 Aug 09

They also have to look at the substance of the charge, if it takes the form a tax it will be unconstitutional. But then the ACT Government have known since before it was introduced that the tax would likely be ruled invalid if challenged, but that didn’t stop them. It won’t be just $18 million they will be worried about as mentioned in the paper, it’s probably the roughly $60 million they’ve collected over the past 3 or so years that they may have to pay back.

Pandy Pandy 7:15 pm 26 Aug 09

All they need to do is change the work “tax” to something like “rent”.

Still a “rent” on assests in Queenbeyan that the ACT Govermnet does not own wont get up.

George D George D 6:00 pm 26 Aug 09

ACTEW passing on savings to the consumer? Hahahahaha!

Ceej1973 Ceej1973 1:52 pm 26 Aug 09

They will have to amend the relevant Act first, for which ACTEW (on behalf of ACT Govt.) hold so dear to their hearts. I tried appealing the requirement to pay water rates on a block of land I owned (rent for 99 years), that had no house, no pipe work and no taps or meters fitted. They had that covered off well with the Water Utilies Act. Mongrels!

caf caf 1:30 pm 26 Aug 09

housebound: Appealing isn’t a job lot – you can appeal one decision out of several. It’s possible that the Council will appeal the one they lost, and the Government the other (but I’d bet that neither eventuates).

Mike Crowther Mike Crowther 12:46 pm 26 Aug 09

“Will we see our utilities bills going down, or is it a totally different matter?”

Short answer is, (as per usual) it’s a totally different matter.

mred mred 12:40 pm 26 Aug 09

Sounds like a waste of the courts time. The ACT government will just levy the ‘tax’ somewhere it knows is legal. My guess would be rates, which basically means a win for Queanbeyan, because they don’t pay ACT rates.

housebound housebound 11:31 am 26 Aug 09

So if the ACT government appeals, it could end up losing on the abstraction charge as well.

2006 wasn;t a great year for the ACT Government doing things properly, was it?

caf caf 10:18 am 26 Aug 09

The Queanbeyan Council was also challenging the water abstraction charge, but that one was upheld by the court.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 8:43 am 26 Aug 09

Yes, this is the Utility Tax which is imposed on ActewAGL, Telstra, TransACT etc.

It is rather amusing though that Queanbeyan Council took Actew (and through them, the ACT Government) to court over it, rather than a utility taking the ACT Government to court.

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