The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry has spoken out against the federal government’s proposal to create a Special Economic Zone in the Northern Territory, saying this would be good for the NT but bad for everybody else.
“My personal objective for the territory is it would be great to have a company tax rate here one-third lower than that of the rest of the country,” said prime minister Kevin Rudd yesterday, according to The Australian.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott detailed plans in June to attract investment to the north of Western Australia, Queensland and the NT. One news outlet suggested that Rudd’s plans “had echoes of Tony Abbott's plans to grow a new food bowl in the north”
VECCI’s CEO Mark Stone has said that preferential tax treatment for businesses based in the NT would not benefit the rest of the country, and that if the NT received special treatment, then so should Victoria.
“We urge the ALP to review its approach to tax cuts for business ahead of polling day, and commit to a fair playing field for all states,” said Stone.
“Businesses are already feeling the effects of the increased superannuation guarantee levy, minimum wage increases, higher electricity costs attributable to the carbon tax and costs related to the introduction of modern awards,” Stone said.
While VECCI was pleased company taxes were on the election campaign agenda – with Abbott announcing a proposed reduction in the company tax from 30 to 28.5 per cent if the opposition was elected in the September 7 election – an SEZ should be reconsidered.