26 May 2014
Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is continuing her push for a northern tax haven, despite a prominent economist calling the idea “nonsense”.
The creation of a special economic zone is one of the issues being discussed during the development of a Northern Australia White Paper.
The Federal Government’s sub-committee on Northern Australia is investigating whether there should be special tax arrangements to stimulate growth in the country’s north.
University of Queensland economics professor John Quiggin says the Northern Territory has some of the highest growth in the country.
“But the idea that we should heavily subsidise people to operate in one part of the country rather than another is a nonsense,” he said.
Mr Quiggin says the north should not be the target of subsidies.
“We should be looking at the places that are struggling – for example, parts of Tasmania, manufacturing areas in Victoria – rather than areas that are already doing well,” he said.
The co-chairman of Ms Rinehart’s lobby group Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision, Imants Kins, says it is big thinking that should be applauded.
“If those policies are successful in the north they could also be applied to the rest of Australia to make Australia competitive,” he said.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says tax concessions will be considered as part of the white paper.
He has also flagged water resources, getting rid of red tape, and building appropriate infrastructure as key priorities for the development of the north.
The committee is expected to hand its recommendations to the Prime Minister in the next few weeks.
Courtesy of ABC News
26 May 2014