Article – Barnaby Joyce pushes northern tax zones

22 October 2013
Christian Kerr and Lauren Wilson
The Australian

BARNABY Joyce has pre-empted a major policy paper on developing northern Australia, demanding a “substantial difference in tax liability” for residents and businesses in the region.

The Coalition promised in June it would issue a white paper on personal and business tax incentives for northern Australia in its first year of office.
But Mr Joyce is demanding an overhaul of zonal tax rebates in a policy paper that echoes the ideas of Gina Rinehart’s think tank Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision.
The Agriculture Minister’s call comes in a piece in a book of essays written before last month’s federal election, Turning Left or Right: Values in Modern Politics, published by Connor Court.
“What the north needs more than anything else . . . is people and the only proper way to attract people is to give them a reason to move,” he writes. He says the publicly funded infrastructure of the southern centres is not available in the north. “You should not have to pay for a service you do not get. If there is not a substantial difference in tax liability but there is in access to infrastructure, then people will naturally gravitate to cities.”
Mr Joyce calls for an overhaul of the almost 70-year-old system of zonal taxation rebates to recognise the additional costs of living in more remote parts of the country.
Kevin Rudd sought to trump the Coalition’s pledge in August when he said he would create a special economic zone in the Northern Territory, with a company tax rate up to a third lower than elsewhere in Australia.
Labor leader Bill Shorten is understood to have told opposition spokespeople that all Labor’s policies will be reviewed.
The office of Joe Hockey declined to comment on Mr Joyce’s calls.
ANDEV co-chairman Imants Kins, speaking generally about driving development in the north, said the “catalyst for an integrated economic development of northern Australia requires the establishment of special economic zones”.
Courtesy of The Australian