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.

No trucking worries: Recycling service upgraded

HEAVY DUTY: Col Nevell (left) shakes hands with mayor Nev Ferrier as Lions Club volunteers test out the truck's lift.

Callide Valley Lions Club recycling to continue in comfort.

Time to recognise region's modern pioneers

NOMINATIONS EXTENDED: Banana Shire residents have until January 26 to nominate a modern pioneer.

Nomination date extended until January 26.

Ride on! Thangool family wins lawnmower prize

WINNERS: Bill and Ben Hill (seated) with Quenton Radel at Milne Bros Biloela.

Milne Bros Biloela gives family "biggest thrill” for Christmas.

Local Partners

50 Shades actress on why she hates the film

Dornan and Johnson’s frequent sex scenes were ‘awkward’ to film. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Jamie Dornan doesn’t blame you for hating 50 Shades

Chris Hemsworth’s X-rated compliment to former co-star

Australian actor Chris Hemsworth poses on the red carpet for the European premiere of the film 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in London on April 21, 2015.

THOR star once paid former Home and Away actress a lewd compliment.

'I can't keep my mouth shut any longer'

Singer George Michael.

George Michael’s cousin blasts singer’s boyfriend Fadi Fawaz.

Fresh faces: NCIS gets a shake up with new cast members

The new cast of NCIS, from left, Rocky Carroll, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, David McCallum, Brian Dietzen, Wilmer Valderrama, Emily Wickersham, Mark Harmon, Duane Henry and Jennifer Esposito.

THREE new characters join naval drama for season 14.

First the Onesie, now an Xbox One S inflatable controller

Fancy an inflatable Xbox One S controller?

Inflatable controller 'perfect sidekick' for Australia Day party

Sarah Harris: Here’s what Amber Sherlock should’ve done

Studio 10 and Shark Tank presenter Sarah Harris.

STUDIO 10 host says Sherlock could’ve avoided the subsequent uproar.

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

What a year 2016 proved to be

Entrance Island, Birtinya

Get the inside info from the agents themselves

REVEALED: What Coast wants in an international airport

Sunshine Coast business people share their views on what's needed

Time for a cool change

43 Eckersley Ave, Buderim.

Family home goes to the auction floor

Designer home set in lush tropical gardens

This home has it all and more

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!