Article – Should the Northern Territory be tax free?

28 March 2014
Cameron Wilson
Radio National
A proposal to create a tax free haven in the Northern Territory has been criticised by economists who argue it will do little to attract investment to the north of the country.
Next week a Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia is starting public hearings to examine the arguments for developing a region which many see as the nation’s last frontier.
One group that has already made a submission to the committee is Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision, or ANDEV, a lobby group which was set up by mining magnate Gina Rinehart. It is calling on the Federal Government to introduce tax concessions in the Northern Territory that would see its citizens exempt from paying income tax for at least three years. The idea is part of a broader platform to create a special economic zone for the north to encourage greater investment in the region.
The idea, however, has attracted criticism from some economists who argue that special economic zones are fundamentally flawed. Ethicists, too, argue that creating tax free havens for some would create an unfair burden on the rest of the country’s citizens.
Imants Kins, co-chair of ANDEV, Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision 
Professor John Quiggin, economist from University of Queensland
Dr Simon Longstaff, executive director of the St James Ethics Centre
Listen to the audio here.
Courtesy of Radio National