Article – Tax allowance and water key priorities

1 April 2014
Monique Patterson
The North West Star
A number of submissions [to the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia] call for improved infrastructure for mining companies.
Water storage facilities to support mining, agriculture and industry and a meat works are high on the agenda for Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone.
“MITEZ believes there is an urgent need to identify strategic locations where there are opportunities to encourage new mines, to support a more sustainable beef industry and encourage new irrigated agriculture in North West Queensland and Gulf areas,” its submission says.
Regional Development Australia’s submission puts investment into energy infrastructure as its top priority. Other priorities include road upgrades, investment into rail, airports and air access and ports, improved communication technology, funding for water quality, storage and supply and identifying new mining and minerals processing opportunities.
The North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils calls for an equitable zone tax allowance available only to residents.
“One way to assist and help achieve this is to review the existing system and provide what is needed, that is incentives to live and work in these rural and remote areas then that way skilled services of teachers, doctors, nurses and police are available in these areas,” it says in its submission.
Northern Australia has tremendous potential to fuel and sustain national growth, according to MMG.
The mining company said  that under the right policy settings there was great potential.
Its submission outlines a number of factors MMG believes are necessary to support growth including: an environment that encourages private investment, including minerals exploration; secure, cost-effective domestic gas and power supply and water provision; incentives to better leverage Northern Australia’s proximity to South East Asia; appropriate incentives for people to live and work in northern Australia; and better health and education outcomes for indigenous people in the region.
The population of Flinders Shire Council declined by 9 per cent in the period from 2002 to 2012.
“Primarily, council believes that any new policy initiative for northern Australia has to drive population growth in the region,” the council’s submission says.
The submission states it is believed between 70 and 80 people left Hughenden in 2013, while the number of people moving to the town had been minimal.
“Federal government needs to take the lead role in providing the key infrastructure to support the growth and development of the northern and inland regions,” the submission says.
A lack of infrastructure is making it hard for the Burke Shire Council to attract new residents.
“Burke Shire Council is of the opinion that there needs to be serious and sustained investment into northern Australia particularly in the area of key infrastructure such as roads, water storage, communication and energy provision,” it wrote in its submission.
The council said the lack of infrastructure was resulting in a decreased window of opportunity to trade along with reduced trading options.
“The potential for north Australia to contribute to the prosperity of this nation and also become an important player in future food security of the planet is immense,” the submission says.
“The sky is the limit.”
Courtesy of the North West Star