Article – WA Scoffs at ALP Plan for North

August 22, 2013
Tyson Cattle
Farm Weekly
PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has copped heavy criticism from WA regarding his proposal to set up a special economic zone in the Northern Territory.
WA Premier Colin Barnett called the plan “discriminatory” and the Nationals WA said the Prime Minister was clearly out of touch with the north of the country.
“Why is the Kimberley excluded, and why is northern Queensland excluded?” Mr Barnett said.
“An advantage has been given to Darwin, and has profound implications for WA.
“This is discriminatory and it could have severely adverse affects on the development of the Kimberley.
“What I would say to Kevin Rudd, and Tony Abbott, is that developing the north is great … but apply it right across northern Australia.” The Nationals WA candidate for Durack, Shane Van Styn said Mr Rudd and the Labor Party were out of touch with the needs of northern Australia.
Mr Van Styn said Mr Rudd’s visit to Kununurra last week to promote development in Australia’s north could not be taken seriously.
“While the Prime Minister was in Kununurra talking up his northern Australia credentials, his own party are on record saying they don’t support investment in northern Australia,” Mr Van Styn said.
He said he was disappointed to hear Labor’s proposal for tax cuts in the Northern Territory – a move that would force development and jobs out of Durack.
“It’s a radical, uncosted proposal, without any thought to how it will impact developments in WA,” he said.
“Mr Barnett and I both agree that this move by Labor would be a threat to growth in the Kimberley’s oil and gas industry, and will prove to be another hit on the resources in regional WA, following on from the Mining Tax and the Carbon Tax.” Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) policy officer Ian Randles said the PGA supported the northern plan, only if it was exactly that – put across the entire north.
“He is suggesting that they lower the company tax but only in the Northern Territory and from our point of view that would be discriminatory towards the Kimberley,” Mr Randles said.
“We would be in favour of a special economic zone; we think that is a good idea but the specific detail is lowering the company tax in the Northern Territory.
“We think that should operate across the Kimberley, Northern Territory and northern Queensland.” Mr Randles said the Rudd Government was clearly making policies on the run and not thinking them through.
“I am sure it would work but it is like everything in life – there are always unforeseen circumstances when you think on the run – and that’s what I think this is,” he said.
“A couple of the unforeseen circumstances of this are that people will relocate their investment to the Northern Territory.” “They won’t increase their investment they will just relocate their investments from Adelaide to Darwin.
“But we also need to be careful that special economic zones don’t turn into tax havens.” Mr Randles also criticised Mr Rudd’s plans for the expansion of the Ord River Scheme saying it was the Federal Government holding up the process in the first place.
Courtesy of Farm Weekly.