Three key Local Government bodies representing more than 230 Councils across the country have joined forces to urge the Federal Government to not abolish vital remote area tax concessions and payments.

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) and the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) have penned a joint letter to Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg urging him not to adopt recommendations within the Productivity Commission’s Remote Area Tax Concessions and Payments report.

“We are imploring the Federal Government not to reduce these modest but important incentives,” LGAQ President Mayor Mark Jamieson said.

LGANT President Mayor Damien Ryan said the remote area tax concessions and payments did not just assisted regional, remote and Northern Australian communities in retaining people and attracting other skilled workers but also boosted regional economies through additional local spending.  

Newly elected WALGA President Mayor Tracey Roberts said the Associations were calling on Mr Frydenberg not to adopt four key recommendations of the report:
  • the abolishment of the zone tax offset (Recommendation 5.1)
  • the tightening of tax treatment for employer-provided housing (Recommendation 8.1)
  • the removal of concessions for employee-sourced housing (Recommendation 8.2), and
  • the tightening of tax treatment of other goods and services (Recommendation 8.3).
The Associations described the commission’s recommendations as disheartening.

“The LGAQ, LGANT and WALGA each made submissions to the Inquiry noting that the current arrangements provide important (although modest) benefits for people, and employers seeking to attract people, to live and work in these regions,” the joint letter to Mr Frydenberg states.

“We request that you ask Treasury to undertake a review of the many suggestions offered in submissions, and those available from other sources, to enhance current incentives and introduce new incentives to support people and employers in these areas.”