The Northern Territory Catches a Break on Rebates

The Property Council NT Division supports the Federal Government’s decision to ignore the Productivity Commission’s recommendation regarding to the Zone Tax Offset (ZTO).

The Commission had recommended that the ZTO be axed for people in remote areas, stating that the rebate was outdated and had not kept up with inflation. The Commission also found no evidence that the ZTO encourages people to live and work in remote areas.

The NT Division of the Property Council of Australia does not support any reduction in the amount or scope of the remote area tax concessions. Territorians live and work in our remote areas. In fact, these remote areas account for a vast majority of the Northern Territory.  And, the remote areas of the NT deserve this rebate, especially teachers, health care workers, police and essential services.

The offset encourages people to move to remote areas and fill unique job vacancies. These vacancies, which exist in often isolated environments, are otherwise very difficult to fill. Entertaining such a policy change would undermine the intent behind the Developing the North conversation - an agenda that we strongly advocate for. Greater reforms and incentives for population and industrial growth are instead required to achieve the targets under the Developing the North White Paper.   

The Federal Government’s refusal to axe or lower the ZTO in remote areas is welcomed in the NT, which is already facing major economic challenges. The Property Council NT identified that the Government should consider increasing the zone allowance and should examine the introduction of cabotage for Northern Australia.

It is time to examine real and meaningful ways in which to create Australia’s Gateway to Asia, together with increasing our connectivity to Southern capitals. This could encapsulate areas such as logistics and freight capacity, travel route capacity (air and sea) and immigration capacity, all the foregoing needs to be urgently reviewed and addressed.

RUTH PALMER
Northern Territory Executive Director