Townsville Mayor slams suggestions of revoking Zonal Tax Offset

Date published: 23 October 2019

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill has slammed suggestions from the Productivity Commission that the Zonal Tax Offset (ZTO) should be revoked for Townsville.

The recommendation to remove the ZTO and wind back the Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) was made in a draft report handed down in an Australian Government report in September.

Responding to the draft report, Cr Hill said it’s a classic example of southern-based reports that fail to adequately address the challenges of living in regional Australia.

“What this report from the Productivity Commission has failed to address is that even in regional centres like Townsville, we still face higher costs of living and are struggling to attract the growth we need,” she said.

“The cost of house and contents insurance is the perfect example – North Queensland residents are paying up to $1000 more per year.

“The ACCC conducting an independent inquiry into insurance costs in Townsville is indicative of the struggle our residents are facing in being able to afford the cost of insuring their homes and businesses.”

Cr Hill said Council had outlined these issues in a submission made to the inquiry but that the report had failed to take it into account.

“Council made several recommendations in our submission, the most important one being that an upgraded ZTO could work as relief for home and business owners paying exorbitant costs for insurance.

“The FBT concessions could also be increased for FIFO employers that have their operations based in regional centres rather than capital cities.

“Townsville doesn’t want to palm off the challenges of our development, but we can’t generate the regions potential alone.

“What we need is our fair share or support and assistance from the Australian Government.”