North Queensland based Senator Ian Macdonald has welcomed the acceptance of his amendments to the terms of reference for a joint select committee on Northern Australia to re-instate a review of the Zone Tax system.
I am very pleased that the deliberations of this committee will now include a review of the taxation regime in Northern Australia, Senator Macdonald said.
The terms of reference passed through the House of Representatives last week, but several key issues had been omitted, so at the first opportunity I was able to amend these in the Senate today.
To develop Northern Australia it is imperative that, from the start, we have the tools to attract businesses and workers to the North, and flexible zone tax arrangements are a vital part of this plan.
He also welcomed the tightening of the time lines for the committee and the insertion of a clause requiring that at the conclusion of the committees deliberation, it would: present to the Parliament its recommendation for a White Paper which would detail government action needed to be taken to implement the committees recommendations, setting out how the recommendations were to be implemented, by which government entity there were to be implemented, a timetable for implementation and how and when any government funding would be sourced.
I am delighted that there will be a White Paper for government action as a result of this committees work, Senator Macdonald said.
The development of Northern Australia has been a passion of mine since I entered the Parliament in 1990 it was the subject of my maiden speech. On several occasions since then we have been on the verge of achieving a government commitment, but each time it has been put on the backburner.
I am determined that will not happen this time and am confident that the White Paper will lay out a sensible and practical path to achieving what has been my lifes dream.
This is not just for the benefit of Northern Australia, although those benefits will be great, but for the benefit of the whole Australian economy.
If we are to expand our economy and take our rightful place as a powerhouse of the Asian century, it is vitally important that we take advantage of the myriad opportunities offered by Northern Australia.
Not just in mining and agriculture, which are the obvious beneficiaries, but in education, health, medical and scientific research, marine science all of which have a different focus in Northern Australia to southern parts of the country.
And all of these are vital to our interaction with the Tropic Zone around the globe. As one of the developed countries in the Tropic Zone, we have not only the opportunity but the obligation of leading the way.