Government urged to consult Islanders on zone tax offset

Government urged to consult Islanders on zone tax offset

Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has called on the Productivity Commission to add Kangaroo Island to its schedule of public forums as the Federal Government continues its review of tax relief for remote communities.

The Commission currently has nine community forums organised as part of its 12-month investigation into the existing provisions for Zone Tax Offset, Fringe Benefits Tax Remote Area Concessions and the Remote Area Allowance.

The only forum scheduled for South Australia is in Andamooka, prompting Rebekha to write to the Chair of the Productivity Commission, Michael Brennan, to ask him to include Kangaroo Island.

“It was really only after I began lobbying the Government about Kangaroo Island’s exclusion from these tax relief provisions that this review was announced so it makes sense for the Island to host a forum so our community can argue its case,” Rebekha said.

“There has been a well-organised community-led campaign to adopt Zone Tax Offset B for Kangaroo Island with local resident Lisa Thompson organising a petition signed by nearly 20 per cent of the Island’s adult population, nearly 800 people.

“I believe it is incredibly unfair that people living on the Whitsunday Islands can claim tax concessions but Kangaroo Island residents cannot.”

The Zone Tax Offset, Fringe Benefits Tax Remote Area Concessions and Remote Area Allowance provide financial support to people living in remote areas of Australia.

The locations eligible for these forms of assistance are determined by geographic 'zones', defined in tax legislation, which have remained largely unchanged since they were established in 1945.

Rebekha has met with the relevant Ministers since taking office in 2016, arguing that Kangaroo Island should be included in the tax area known as Zone B.

Zone B compensates for geographic disadvantage and could put between $57 and $1600 in the pockets of individuals and families on Kangaroo Island.

The Government announced a review into the provisions in late 2018.

The final study report is expected to be presented to the Government in February 2020 and publicly released shortly after.