News

Leaked document reveals plans to create new economic zone

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott Vicki Wood

THE Federal Coalition may create new incentives for southern Australians to move north if elected, a leaked policy document has revealed.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was quick to emphasise the proposal was not a final policy.

Mr Abbott and his team have been at pains to keep crucial election policies under wraps since Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the poll date last week.

But the leaked policy revealed plans to create a new economic zone above the Tropic of Capricorn, including different tax rates and strategies to grow agriculture, mining and populations in the north.

Mr Abbott said the Coalition had no plans to change the tax system, but was considering incentives for residents of the north as well as businesses.

"Well, obviously there are some zonal rebates that have been in place for many years and we are looking at how they can be made more effective," he said.

"We did, in the aftermath of the last election, look at some trial sites for further rebates and these are the sorts of issues that we are looking at and discussing with the public in the run-up to the election.

"I make no apologies for being a consultative leader."

Several of the proposals were markedly similar to ideas that avid northern Australia supporter Gina Rinehart spoke about last year and brought praise from independent MP Bob Katter.

He said he had held numerous discussions with Coalition MPs on such ideas over the years - stretching back to former Prime Minister John Howard's days.

He said the release of the draft policy was a positive move and showed the Coalition was prepared to shine a light on such issues.

From possible dams, to targets of tripling Australia's resource exports and growing the nation's energy industry, the "Developing Northern Australia - A 2030 Vision" document had numerous ideas which have circulated in northern political circles for years.

But the document was qualified by a statement that it was a draft document, circulated for internal Coalition feedback.

It was also understood the draft policy was also revealed to some conservative state governments in recent weeks.

The leaked policy sparked a round of attacks from several government ministers, including Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean, who dubbed it a "grab bag full of wacky ideas".

Mr Crean said the policy had Ms Rinehart's fingerprints all over it, and the government had already achieved a lot for northern Australia.

A list of government achievements circulated by his office showed the creation of the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum, an expert government advisory panel and several other economic initiatives.

The list also included the release of the $10 million North Queensland Irrigated Agriculture Strategy and the northern Australia beef strategy.

Topics:  coalition, julia gillard, tony abbott


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Jump in orphaned joeys down to the dry

An injured kangaroo is looked after at the Biloela Veterinary Clinic. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Wildlife service blames drought as more kangaroos hit by cars.

You go girl: Shannon Spratt eyes podium finish

Motocross rider Shannon Spratt at the Go Girls tournament in Rockhampton on the weekend. Photo: Contributed.

Bilo local holds third place in crowded Go Girls motocross field.

Corey Oates fulfils lifelong dream

Broncos winger Corey Oates scores a try during the NRL Grand Final between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Baralaba Bronco gets Origin call-up.

Latest deals and offers

Moura woman still recovering after head-on collision

A MOURA woman is recovering from a broken rib and suspected shoulder injuries after a head-on collision west of Moura late last month.

Jump in orphaned joeys down to the dry

An injured kangaroo is looked after at the Biloela Veterinary Clinic. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Wildlife service blames drought as more kangaroos hit by cars.

You go girl: Shannon Spratt eyes podium finish

Motocross rider Shannon Spratt at the Go Girls tournament in Rockhampton on the weekend. Photo: Contributed.

Bilo local holds third place in crowded Go Girls motocross field.

Corey Oates fulfils lifelong dream

Broncos winger Corey Oates scores a try during the NRL Grand Final between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Baralaba Bronco gets Origin call-up.

Reformed man on a mission: 'Mad Dog' Mudford visits Thangool

Kevin 'Mad Dog' Mudford in Biloela on Wednesday. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph

Former prison inmate tells his story of drugs, crime and redemption.

Monto Roos gell to break the drought

Monto played Gayndah on May 21.

Training comes together for first win of the season.

The best retro movies of the week? May 27 - June 3

Gregory Peck Photo Contributed

This week TV fan get to see Tom Cruise in a 1980s classics

Barnaby Joyce talks Johnny Depp's dogs in Tweed

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce talks about Johnny Depp's dogs Pistol and Boo...

Billy Slater talks Origin Team

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater.

Queensland Origin great Billy Slater talks about this years team and his return to...

Road rage caught on Dashcam

Attack with a baseball bat caught on Dashcam

Video of a violent road rage incident in Orange last December.

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked