EX­CLU­SIVE: New land tax looms as La­bor’s rev­enue dries up

NT News - - FRONT PAGE -

A LAND tax to re­place the scrap­ping or re­duc­tion of stamp duty is a key fea­ture of a re­view look­ing at re­or­gan­is­ing the Ter­ri­tory’s rev­enue col­lec­tion, the NT News can re­veal.

A Gov­ern­ment spokesman would not con­firm or deny the change say­ing “all the de­tails” will be an­nounced to­day.

But the NT News has learned the Trea­sury-con­ducted re­view is look­ing at in­tro­duc­ing a land tax to broaden the NT’s rev­enue base.

The Ter­ri­tory is the only ju­ris­dic­tion in Aus­tralia with­out a land tax. Stamp duty rev­enue has col­lapsed with the strug­gling hous­ing mar­ket.

Prop­erty Coun­cil NT ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ruth Palmer warned against the in­tro­duc­tion of a land tax, de­scrib­ing it as fool­ish.

“... there are a few in­stances in which the North­ern Ter­ri­tory has a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage over ev­ery other state and ter­ri­tory and the taxes on prop­erty are one,” she said. “It would be fool­ish to even con­sider any pol­icy which would threaten this com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage.”

Trea­surer Nicole Mani­son will launch the dis­cus­sion pa­per, look­ing at how to trans­form the way rev­enue is tar­geted so it can drive “in­vest­ment and sup­port jobs”.

Among the known pro­pos­als, the Gun­ner La­bor Gov­ern­ment is seek­ing to use rev­enue mea­sures to drive greater change away from fly-in fly­out work­ers and fly-in fly-out mines to en­sure sus­tain­able Ter­ri­tory-based growth.

The dis­cus­sion pa­per looks at pay­roll tax con­ces­sions or re­bates for em­ploy­ers that em­ploy work­ers in new jobs for a min­i­mum pe­riod of time — for ex­am­ple, at least two years — or tar­geted at par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gories of em­ployer or em­ployee.

The re­view ar­gues the in­cen­tives could be de­signed to en­cour­age em­ploy­ment of lo­cal work­ers rather than in­ter­state or FIFO ar­range­ments in or­der to ben­e­fit the Ter­ri­tory and re­gional economies, but it may in­cur ad­di­tional tax for busi­nesses.

Chief Min­is­ter Michael Gun­ner warned the oil and gas in­dus­try in Au­gust that tax penal­ties could be in­tro­duced to stem the flow of FIFO work­ers. Ms Mani­son said the re­view was to en­sure a rev­enue base in the fu­ture.

“We need to look at our rev­enue base to make sure we have a sus­tain­able bud­get po­si­tion into the fu­ture — but we have to do it in a way that is fair and en­cour­ages in­vest­ment and jobs,” she said.

“The pos­si­ble re­forms set out in the dis­cus­sion pa­per are widerang­ing to cre­ate the op­por­tu­nity for a con­struc­tive con­ver­sa­tion.” Ms Mani­son said the Gov­ern­ment had not made any de­ci­sions.

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