YOU’RE GUNNER PAY
Territorians set to be slugged in biggest tax shake-up in history
TERRITORIANS can expect to pay more tax in the wake of the Gunner Government’s move to protect its $770 million in revenue it collects each year.
A discussion paper released by Treasurer Nicole Manison leaves nothing off the table, including increased car registration, banking taxes, insurance taxes, gambling taxes and changes to royalty structures for the resources sector.
Ms Manison confirmed a land tax was also on the radar, despite her and Chief Minister Michael Gunner previously ruling out its introduction as recently as May’s Budget.
The discussion paper estimates a land tax could raise $21 million at a 0.1 per cent rate of tax.
“To not have a broader discussion that included property taxes ... that would be a Treasurer sticking her head in the sand,” she said. “For a very long time, the Northern Territory has not had land taxes for very good reasons. I think we are mature enough to go out there and have that conversation.
“We need to have a frank and open discussion about where we see reform into the future. Not just next year’s budget but future budgets.
“Government has not committed to any of these reforms. It is a genuine discussion with the community.”
Chamber of Commerce NT chief executive Greg Bicknell said in the current economic climate, the review sent a serious message.
He said doing things like increasing rego was “playing around the edges” and a land tax would hit long-term Territorians hard.
“Government has four options open to it,” he said.
“Increase revenue; reduce services; win the argument with the Federal Government over GST or develop industry like onshore shale gas. The review says we’ve got some serious challenges in front and that is not good for business confidence.”
Opposition Leader Gary Higgins slammed the Labor Government saying to massively increase taxes on all Territorians was lazy.
“At a time when the Northern Territory needs greater investment and job creation, new taxes will only make the situation harder for families, businesses and employers,” he said.
Property Council NT executive director Ruth Palmer said the timing of any tax changes were wrong.
“Now is not the time to be making long-term structural changes to a tax system due to short-term market conditions,” she said. “It is also important that the government consider cost-of-living factors. The introduction of any form of land tax will increase costof-living pressures on all Territory families and hurt investment and job creation.”
The Government has promised a three-month consultation period closing in late February next year.
“The review says we’ve got some serious challenges in front and that is not good for business confidence”