Article – Zone tax fairness sought

19 March 2014
North West Star
A fairer zone allowance tax for people who live in regional centres is one of the Mount Isa City Council’s top priorities.
This issue, along with enhanced water infrastructure, is outlined in the council’s Northern Australia Vision Paper submission.
“Our council has hosted forums consisting of local business people from across the breadth of all major industries, and one of the key issues consistently put forward as affecting the strength and growth of the sector is the zone allowance,” the submission says.
“In its current state, the allowance is wholly inadequate and fails to provide sufficient incentive for workers to stay, and spend, in our city, and subsequently business remains unable to grow through high staff turnover, lack of a sufficient candidate pool and drain of intellectual capital through population drift.”
The submission said the incentives should apply only to people who lived in the regional centres, not fly-in fly-out workers.
“This is because these people, although currently somewhat necessary to sustain industry in many remote regions, will continue to invest their time, money and interest in more populous centres and so continue to work against the very social cohesion and strong communities you seek to create,” it says.
The submission says the council   firmly believes that a fair and adequate zone allowance would “assist to level the playing field with our coastal and southern counterparts as well as be a significant driver in encouraging people to permanently settle and become a part of the fabric of regional communities”.
The submission says another issue that  the council believes deserves immediate attention is enhanced water infrastructure.
“As the Queensland government has pointed out, 70 per cent of our state is now drought-declared, and we believe that as a matter of urgency more dams and associated works are needed to cover the industrial city of Mount Isa and other communities in the region,” it says.
The committee will be in Mount Isa on Thursday, April 3, to hear this and other submissions.
Residents are encouraged to sign the zone tax allowance petition at the council offices.
This and other submissions can be viewed at www.aph.gov.au/jscna
Courtesy of the North West Star

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