Tax lure for live-in staff

Pilbara News - - Election 2017 - Gary Adhsead, Dy­lan Ca­porn and Tom Zaun­mayr

Com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in WA min­ing towns will not have to pay any pay­roll tax on work­ers who live in the com­mu­nity rather than fly­ing in and out, un­der a plan put for­ward by WA Na­tion­als leader Bren­don Grylls.

The Na­tion­als’ Live Where You Work pol­icy will com­ple­ment a prom­ise to raise the pay­roll tax thresh­old to $5 mil­lion.

The two poli­cies would hit the State’s rev­enue stream and are de­pen­dent on the Na­tion­als’ elec­tion cen­tre­piece — the new tax on min­ing com­pa­nies Rio Tinto and BHP Bil­li­ton.

“The Na­tion­als will pro­vide a 100 per cent pay­roll tax re­bate for res­i­den­tial work­ers in des­ig­nated min­ing com­mu­ni­ties or af­fected ar­eas,” the pol­icy doc­u­ment says.

“As well as new em­ploy­ees, this re­bate will ap­ply to ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees so we can re­ward those em­ploy­ers who have al­ready sup­ported a res­i­den­tial work­force.”

Mr Grylls said the pol­icy was de­signed to en­cour­age com­pa­nies not to use as many fly-in, fly-out work­ers.

“We’re send­ing a clear mes­sage to em­ploy­ers that if you em­ploy a res­i­den­tial worker, you don’t (pay) pay­roll. If you em­ploy FIFO, you have to pay the costs of FIFO plus the pay­roll costs,” he said. Al­though he did not have a to­tal cost for the pol­icy, the $7.2 bil­lion raised by changes to State agree­ments would fund many poli­cies.

“It is pretty dif­fi­cult to model what the cost of that pol­icy would be and how quickly a FIFO work­force would re­spond,” he said.

“I be­lieve we have scope within that pol­icy to in­vest in the com­mu­ni­ties of the Pil­bara that want the abil­ity to grow and pros­per — I’m not chal­lenged by the cost­ing of it. I’m more chal­lenged by the im­ple­men­ta­tion plan that we’d need Trea­sury to en­dorse.”

The WA Na­tion­als will also take aim at two more Pil­bara work­ers camps. Mr Grylls said there was “no way” Lands Min­is­ter Terry Red­man would be sign­ing off an ex­ten­sion to the Wheat­stone work­ers camp.

Mr Grylls also backed the Town of Port Hed­land in a push to shut down BHP Bil­li­ton’s Port Haven vil­lage.

Cham­ber of Min­er­als and En­ergy chief ex­ec­u­tive Reg Howard-Smith said tak­ing on ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties was not the best way for­ward.

“When new fa­cil­i­ties come up, that’s the time to have those dis­cus­sions,” he said.

Mr Howard-Smith said de­spite the im­prove­ments to Pil­bara towns, peo­ple should not be forced to move for work in the re­gion.

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