14 November 2013
North West Star
PEOPLE living in northern Queensland should have access to a zone tax to the tune of between $15,000 and $20,000 each year, Senator Ian MacDonald told Parliament on Wednesday.
“Zone tax was mentioned in our northern Australian development paper and that is something that must be addressed,” he said.
“Madam acting deputy president, do you realise that if you live in, say, Cloncurry in North West Queensland and you want to see an orthopaedic surgeon, you have to jump in a plane, spend $3000 and be away from your family for a week? If you happen to live in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, you get on a tram or a train at the bottom of the street and you are at the hospital and the orthopaedic surgeon within a couple of minutes.
“People in the south have to understand that living in the areas that produce most of Australia’s wealth is a cost. It is costly.”
Mr MacDonald said the zone tax system was introduced in the 1950s to address these issues.
Mr MacDonald acknowledged those living in northern Australia had been short-changed.
“Whilst those of us in the north have little influence on what happens in the more populous parts of Australia, I guarantee on behalf of those of us who are from there that this Parliament will do everything possible to make sure northern Australia is never again forgotten, as it has been in the last six years,” he said.
Mr MacDonald said northern Australia was home to a number of industries in addition to mineral industries.
“I repeat that about 60 per cent of Australia’s export earnings come from northern Australia,” he said.
“In addition to mining and metals processing, we have some very good agricultural industries.”
Courtesy of the North West Star
14 November 2013