Land tax may be introduced to broaden NT’s revenue base

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Property Council NT executive director Ruth Palmer is against the introduction of a land tax. Picture: JUSTIN KENNEDY

A LAND tax to replace the scrapping or reduction of stamp duty is a key feature of a review looking at reorganising the Territory’s revenue collection, the NT News can reveal.

A Government spokesman would not confirm or deny the change saying “all the details” will be announced today.

But the NT News has learned the Treasury-conducted review is looking at introducing a land tax to broaden the NT’s revenue base.

The Territory is the only jurisdiction in Australia without a land tax. Stamp duty revenue has collapsed with the struggling housing market.

Property Council NT executive director Ruth Palmer warned against the introduction of a land tax, describing it as foolish.

“ … there are a few instances in which the Northern Territory has a competitive advantage over every other state and territory and the taxes on property are one,” she said. “It would be foolish to even consider any policy which would threaten this competitive advantage.”

Treasurer Nicole Manison will launch the discussion paper, looking at how to transform the way revenue is targeted so it can drive “investment and support jobs”.

Among the known proposals, the Gunner Labor Government is seeking to use revenue measures to drive greater change away from fly-in fly-out workers and fly-in fly-out mines to ensure sustainable Territory-based growth.

The discussion paper looks at payroll tax concessions or rebates for employers that employ workers in new jobs for a minimum period of time — for example, at least two years — or targeted at particular categories of employer or employee.

The review argues the incentives could be designed to encourage employment of local workers rather than interstate or FIFO arrangements in order to benefit the Territory and regional economies, but it may incur additional tax for businesses.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner warned the oil and gas industry in August that tax penalties could be introduced to stem the flow of FIFO workers. Ms Manison said the review was to ensure a revenue base in the future.

“We need to look at our revenue base to make sure we have a sustainable budget position into the future — but we have to do it in a way that is fair and encourages investment and jobs,” she said.

“The possible reforms set out in the discussion paper are wideranging to create the opportunity for a constructive conversation.” Ms Manison said the Government had not made any decisions.

Originally published as New land tax may soon be introduced

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