Raising the BARR – Week ending 23 September 2016

Your Land Title Might Now Be a “Clayton’s” Title

Last week in Parliament the Government took the decision to privatise our Land Titling and Registry Services.  How important is Land Title you might ask?  Well every block of land, every unit, every piece of infrastructure is on a piece land with a Title.  If you are a home owner or if you own other property, then you undoubtedly have ownership by Title.  You rely on our title to be 100% accurate.  You rely on your Title to have been thoroughly researched and cross-checked prior to getting the stamp of approval by the Register General of NSW.  Your Title carries that stamp.

Under the proposed new scheme, approved by Legislation last week, the Titling and Registry Services will be sold off, on a 35 year contract.  The certainty, accuracy and thorough cross-checking, we would all hope, might continue.  Admittedly it is hard to improve an already brilliant service.  But the greater fear is that the search for profit might lead to a lower quality service.  And this would mean that the title that people hold for their home or their other property would have far less certainty.  This will increase the “risk” factor (risk over the accuracy of your Title) and that will make banks and financial institutions far more nervous about mortgages and land investments.  The risk will also come if your neighbour sells their property and the new owner wants to challenge the boundary.

The other hidden little fact in this privatisation is the massive increase in fees and charges that will apply in the future.  Some of the fees and charges will make it more expensive to first develop or establish land – the developer won’t simply absorb this cost, they will pass it on to customers and that will make new housing more unaffordable.  Some of the increased fees and charges will be capped to CPI and other fees and charges will have no such cap or limit.  The net impact to the State Budget will be a minus of $140M p.a.  But the great news for sports fans in Bellbird, Byron Bay, Broken Hill and Bega is that the sports stadiums in Sydney will get a massive injection of funds.  So if you attend one of the 2 games each year that are sold out, then you will be able to pay tribute to the increased fees and the increased risk that every land Title holder in the state now carries.

Are Taxes Bad or Good?

Fundamentally, the Government collect taxes to provide services.  Health, Education, and Police are the obvious ones.  But it also includes Roads, Public Transport, the Arts, Social Housing, Welfare, National Defences, Environment, Research, our Courts, Primary Industries, Water services, and the list goes on.  So, in short, the more taxes that are collected, the more services that can be provided.  And it is a fact that we all benefit from these services.

If we wanted to improve any, or all, of these services then we could find a way to collect more tax.  If we thought that these services were a little too well funded, then we could argue to collect less taxes.  On this second point, I don’t get too many people coming to me saying that they want less money for Police, our Hospitals or our schools, or any other of the headings above.  So, if this is the case, why are taxes so demonised by the media, and as a flow on effect, by each of us?

If we think about any successful business, we can accurately say that they rely heavily on the taxes that provide structure to our community.  Think BHP or Rio Tinto, think Woolworths or Coles, think horse studs, 5 star resorts or the local café.  All of these rely on our road networks to move products, to allow people to get to or from the store and to get to or from work.  All of these rely on our laws and courts to protect their rights to trade, to make sure that their ownership is enforced and to make sure that anarchy and chaos doesn’t burn down their business.  All of these also rely on people having money and wages to buy stuff, to own cars and things to get to and from and to have people who are healthy enough to both work and be customers.  And all of these need people with an education and skills to work for them, etc, etc, etc.  In essence, tax is good, not bad, and we all need to pay our fair share.  The conversation about tax should be about that word, fair, and the companies and businesses have a stake in that conversation too.

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For enquiries regarding the State Government or its departments, or to put you in contact with someone who can, please contact my office.  My office can be contacted by phoning 4991-1466, by email to cessnock@parliament.nsw.gov.au or call into 118 Vincent Street (PO Box 242), Cessnock 2325. 

You also follow me on my Facebook page “www.facebook.com/claytonbarrmp”, go to Twitter and search @claytonbarrmp or check out my website at www.claytonbarr.com.au

Cheers Clayton