Macdonald calls for methodical approach to Zone Tax changes

Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald has today called for a comprehensive and definitive review into Zone Tax Rebates across northern Australia.

While I am encouraged by the fact that some of my colleagues have taken an interest in the debate, the time has come to conduct an in-depth investigation.

Senator Macdonald has been advocating for tax reform in northern Australia for many years and it was mentioned in his Northern Australia Discussion Paper released before the election.

The current system has not been indexed and as such has stagnated at a level that may well have offered some incentive in the 1950s but clearly has no pulling power today.

To re-invigorate communities in the remote north, and to stimulate business investment, a more realistic approach which acknowledges the challenges facing families today is required.

Senator Macdonald has said that the investigation should start by looking at the language of the Income Tax Assessment Act.

The Act expressly identifies the challenges and uncongenial climate of the north and the higher effective cost of living, and acknowledges that these factors need to be mitigated.

The ITAA does, however, impose a three-tiered test to determine eligibility a test that may need to be reviewed.

Senator Macdonald said that a review of the elements of the Resident test alone would impact payments to fly-in fly-out workers, and should be reviewed to provide a more equitable outcome.

While I am delighted that the issue of Zone Tax Rebates in the north is on the national agenda, the work has only just begun.

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