Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to slash the company tax rate in the Northern Territory by a third within five years.
“Anyone who thinks up here is a level playing field, has got rocks in their head. It costs more because it’s so far away,” he told reporters in Darwin today.
Rudd also said he would establish 20-year plans for the development of Darwin and the Northern Queensland.
The cuts are not costed yet, and the rate is only Rudd’s “personal preference.”
“I’m concerned with making concrete steps to bring about Northern Australia’s development,” The Prime Minister said on Sky News.
“We intend to establish a northern special economic zone focused on the Territory.
“This will include introducing tax incentives with the object of reducing the corporate tax for Northern Territory-based companies within five years, simplifying investment rules to make it easier for projects to be landed here in the Territory and, three, stream-lining regulation and assessment of major projects so projects can get going as soon as possible.”
Rudd said his preference would be for the tax-cuts to come into effect from 2018.
It is possible to give the NT special economic rules as it is a territory, not a state, and is covered by different rules under Australia’s constitution, though Rudd said he would fight any challenge in the High Court.
“I am pleased that Mr Rudd has finally woken up to the potential of Northern Australia,” Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said after the announcement.
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