Article – Rinehart keen to join push for north – Fleur Anderson, North Queensland Register

AN influential private-sector business group led by billionaire Gina Rinehart will lobby to be part of a taskforce promised under an Abbott government to drive a 20-year economic plan for Northern Australia.
Under the plan part of the foreign aid budget would be diverted for medical research and training in northern cities.
The Coalition promised on Friday it would produce a white paper within 12 months of the election to set out how Australia can develop large-scale agricultural developments on pastoral land, build dams to capture seasonal rainfall and review the region’s land tenure arrangements to give miners, farmers, power generators and tourism operators better access.
The strategy paper will look at ways Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and the federal government can work together to double agricultural output, increase tourism and build a $150 billion energy export industry.
One of the first steps the Coalition says it will take if it wins the September 14 election will be to establish a Northern Australia Strategic Partnership led by the Prime Minister, state and territory premiers and leaders from business, community and indigenous groups.
Many of the ideas to be considered by a Coalition government have been promoted by the group, Australians For Northern Development and Economic Vision, which was founded by Ms Rinehart and West Australian gold miner Imants Kins in 2010.
They include a “one-stop shop” for green tape, plans for dam construction and more infrastructure development and the creation of a Northern special economic zone.
The Coalition stopped short of promising low personal income tax rates for people living in Northern Australia, as advocated by ANDEV, but agreed to review the current relocation incentives and other proposed personal and business tax incentives.
ANDEV wants Northern Australia to be declared a special economic zone with low personal incomes taxes, no payroll taxes, no fringe benefits tax and no stamp duty.