The Sunday Mail (Queensland)



CANE toads and taipans will be next on the government hit list if Joe Hockey’s tax teams succeed in the blitz against battling far north Queensland landlords.

Bad enough for coastal landlords to be feeling the rentals pinch after destructiv­e cyclones in March 2006 and February 2011. Some island resorts have just reopened, others lie abandoned – surrendere­d to the toads and taipans. The FNQ strip from Port Hinchinbro­ok past Bingil Bay took a pounding from Cyclone Yasi in 2011 and some villages are still struggling. Latest tax ruling is not exactly supportive to a regional real estate recovery. If your property is situated in a region still suffering post-cyclone recession “it is considered not to be genuinely available for rent’’.

In other words, only landlords with bold and beautiful properties need apply for tax deductions.

Warnings went out August 18 from the tax office to landlords whose four-figure annual income “was lower than expected’’. The tax office also has taken landlords to task for slaving away on maintenanc­e at their rental properties during stifling summers when tenants vanish. Even at “mates’ rates’’.

In the case of Mission Beach, the village was isolated by Yasi’s de- struction with rainforest debris blocking the road from El Arish on the Bruce Highway.

At least this latest tax fiasco gives Treasurer “Slow Joe’’ Hockey an excuse to revisit the far north – this time with his tax oracles.

Never mind about the cane toads and snakes. Joe will be safe as long as he does not bring Prime Minister Tony Abbott with th him.

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