Tax offset decision 'unfair' for KI

23 Jul 2020

Posted February 27, 2020

The Federal Government's decision not to change the current regime of Remote Area Tax Concessions and Payments fails to deliver equity to Kangaroo Island, a remote region excluded from the benefits, local MP Rebekha Sharkie said today.

“The Government’s decision to basically maintain the status quo when it comes to Remote Area Tax Concessions and Payments is completely unfair and won’t help Kangaroo Island’s bushfire recovery," the Member for Mayo said.

“I will be writing to Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar to voice my disappointment and the disappointment of the KI community about this decision and I will be calling on him as the responsible Minister to make the existing scheme equitable and include the Island."

The Productivity Commission released its final study report on Remote Area Tax Concessions and Payments yesterday.

The report recommended that the zone tax offset should be completely abolished for all Australians rather than be extended to Kangaroo Island.

Rebekha had been working with the community since 2017 to include Kangaroo Island.

“Adding the Island to the specially defined Australian Taxation Office area, known as Zone B, to compensate for geographic disadvantage, could put between $57 and $1600 in the pockets of individuals and families on KI," Rebekha said.

“That money could go a long way for a community where 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 warranted inclusion, especially now.

“That has been my argument since I began advocating on this issue back in 2017 when I supported KI local Lisa Thompson and her petition to include the Island.

"Back then Lisa’s petition was signed by nearly 500 people which is about 10 per cent of the Island’s population.

“The Government says it’s not going to act on the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to abolish the concessions entirely because that will be too great a burden for regional Australia which is facing challenges right now.

“If they are going to make that argument, then we need equity for all remote areas – and KI is remote.

“This decision will only add to the challenges already facing fire-affected communities as Islanders try to rebuild their lives.”

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