On Tuesday 27 June, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr handed down his thirteenth Budget. With an estimated deficit of $442.7m, there is predicted improvement for the coming years with a forecasted surplus of $141.9m by 2025-6.

Similar to the State Budgets, the Territory has experienced short-term economic challenges due to inflation and monetary conditions.

Employment is expected to grow by 2 per cent in the coming years, and the population is estimated to increase by 2.25 per cent in 2022-23 and 2023-24 due to growth in international students and skilled migrants.

Key highlights

  • $124.8m over four years for workforce resources in the new Critical Services Building at Canberra Hospital.
  • An additional $80m to extend the Sustainable Household Scheme, including solar-only loans.
  • $56.1m for one day per week of free quality early childhood education for three-year-old children.
  • An additional $55.9m for the Growing and Renewing Public Housing program, which aims to sell or redevelop older houses.
  • $37.8m to for low-income households to help with cost of living.
  • $21.9m over four years for infrastructure upgrades across Canberra schools.
  • $5.7m over four years to continue the development of Activity Based Management for patient care and the ACT health system.
  • $11.3m over 2023-24 and 2024-25 for communications infrastructure across Canberra Health Services campuses.

Revenue Measures

The 2023-24 Australian Capital Territory Budget features some modest changes to stamp duty, payroll tax and other taxes.

Stamp duty reductions for home buyers

Effective from 1 July 2023, the Government is proposing to raise the threshold for the owner-occupier conveyance duty exemption for off-the-plan purchases from $600,000 to $700,000. 

In addition, as part of the Government’s ongoing tax reform which commenced in 2012, conveyance duty rates will continue to decrease annually. Specifically from 1 July 2023, the lowest tax rate for owner-occupier conveyance duty will be reduced from 0.6 per cent to 0.49 per cent. With the implementation of the tax reform, the stamp duty on a $900,000 home purchased in 2023-24 will be $14,896 lower compared to what it would have been before the reforms. 

Residential conveyance duty rates from 1 July 2023 for owner-occupier:

Value threshold

Maximum Rate (per cent) from 1 July 2023

Up to $260,000 0.49
$260,001 to $300,000 2.2
$300,001 to $500,000 3.4
$500,001 to $750,000 4.32
$750,001 to $1,000,000 5.9
$1,000,001 to $1,455,000 6.4
More than $1,455,000 4.541

1 Flat rate on the entire value of the transaction (phased rates for values less than $1,455,000)

Payroll tax surcharge for large businesses

Starting from 1 July 2025, the Government has announced the introduction of a payroll tax surcharge specifically targeted at large businesses. This surcharge will be an additional 0.25 per cent on ACT wages exceeding the payroll tax threshold for businesses with Australia-wide wages surpassing $50m. For businesses with Australia-wide wages exceeding $100m, the surcharge will be increased to 0.5 per cent on ACT wages exceeding the payroll tax threshold. Universities with an ACT campus will be exempt from this surcharge. It is expected that only a limited number of large national and multinational businesses will be subject to this surcharge.

Furthermore, the Government has allocated $5m in funding to enhance payroll tax compliance activities, ensuring the effective implementation of these measures.

Betting Operations Tax

The Government has proposed to increase the rate of the Betting Operations Tax (‘BOT’) from 20 per cent to 25 per cent from 1 July 2023. The BOT is payable by all betting operators whose net ACT betting revenue exceeds the tax-free threshold of $150,000 annually.

Utilities Network Facilities Tax

The Utilities Network Facilities Tax (‘UNFT’) is set to increase by 2.5 percentage points above the Wage Price Index for the year ending 31 March 2024. The UNFT is paid by owners of a utility network facility that is installed on or under land in the ACT.

If you wish to discuss the Australian Capital Territory Budget announcements, please reach out to a Grant Thornton Partner today.

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