Rebekha welcomes review into tax help for KI
Today’s Government announcement of a Productivity Commission review into tax relief for remote communities, including offshore islands such as Kangaroo Island, has been welcomed by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie.
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has been advocating for the inclusion of Kangaroo Island into the Government's tax concessions for remote communities since 2016 and welcomes today's announcement of a Productivity Commission review in remote tax assistance.
“This is something I have been advocating for since coming into office because I believe it is incredibly unfair that people living on the Whitsunday Islands can claim tax concessions but Kangaroo Island residents cannot,” Rebekha said.
“I am also pleased to see that the review will involve broad public consultation when it begins in February next year because I know the island community will definitely respond.
“When I first began working on this issue a petition calling for KI to be included in the tax offset zone was organised by local Lisa Thompson and was signed by about 10% of the island’s population, nearly 500 people.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the review into remote tax assistance this afternoon, saying there were concerns the concessions had “failed to keep pace with a changing Australia”.
The Zone Tax Offset, Fringe Benefit 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 been meeting with 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.
Two-parent families could be eligible for rebates of between $376 for their first child or student and $282 for each subsequent child, depending on their age and education status.
“On a map, Kangaroo Island might look close to Adelaide ‘as the crow flies’ but its residents experience significantly higher costs of living because of their isolation on the other side of Backstairs Passage,” Rebekha said.
“Everything from food and fuel to medicine and higher education costs more because of the high transport costs to and from the island and the lack of market competition.
“If King island in the Bass Strait can be classified in the Zone B for tax concessions, along with major urban centres such as Cairns, Townsville and Broken Hill, then Kangaroo Island warrants inclusion.”
The review will commence in February 2019 and the Productivity Commission is due to report to Government within 12 months.