Premier warns Feds over bid to scrap FBT

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Premier Mark McGowan speaking on the steps of the WA Parliament. Photo: Will Russell/Getty Images
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan speaking on the steps of the WA Parliament. Photo: Will Russell/Getty Images Credit: Getty Images

Premier Mark McGowan believes the Pilbara will be “dramatically impacted” if the Federal Government adopts a draft report recommendation to scrap allowances and fringe benefits tax concessions.

The comment was made in Parliament last week in response to a question from Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel about what the concessions would mean for regional towns in WA.

The Productivity Commission’s draft remote area tax concessions and payments report, released last month, recommended the abolition of zone tax offsets, clamping down on tax treatment of company housing and adjusting remote area allowances.

In Parliament, Mr McGowan said the main region in the entirety of Australia which would be impacted by the proposed change was the Pilbara.

“This tax change on employers would incentivise them not to have a local workforce,” he said.

“It would mean efforts to grow and maintain a local workforce in regional communities would be harmed and it would promote additional incentives for fly-in, fly-out operations on resources projects.”

Mr McGowan used his final comments to call on the Morrison Government to provide an unequivocal commitment that the changes will not happen.

“It is anti-regional towns in Western Australia, and it is strange that the Productivity Commission would even suggest these changes that would impact the State that provides the greatest amount of revenue to the Commonwealth Government,” he said.

Pressed for an answer to the Premier’s request, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Pilbara News reports by the Productivity Commission are reports to government and not by government.

“The Morrison Government is absolutely committed to our world-leading mining industry and the thousands of Australians it employs across regional and remote Australia,” he said.

“Our policies today and into the future will continue to be focused on strengthening this vital industry and the regional and remote communities whose livelihoods depend on it.”

The final report from the Productivity Commission is expected to be released early next year.

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