Queensland may scrap business relocation benefits

The Queensland Government may be preparing to scrap an incentive scheme that provides businesses with money if they move their operations from other states.

The move comes as the state’s new government continues to make its mark on the economy, by slashing various programs in an attempt to balance the budget.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the government wants to create an environment where business is able to thrive on a sustainable level, not just attracted by cash handouts.

“Philosophically our government is committed to ensuring the business environment is right for everybody, not providing cash handouts or inducements to individuals,” he told the Australian Financial Review.

“We are not convinced cash handouts and inducements work…We haven’t wiped out the Queensland Investment Incentive Scheme yet, but it’s looking that way.”

Seeney’s office was contacted this morning, but no reply was available prior to publication. The Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry was also contacted, but no reply was received.

The QIIS has provided millions to various businesses over the past decade. The scheme works as a discretionary fund, with the government providing targeted financial support to influence projects when and where cash is needed.

Incentives include payroll tax refunds, stamp duty refunds, and establishment grants. Eligible projects must have promoted the competitive nature of the state’s economy, and provided an economic benefit. No projects could significantly hurt existing businesses.

Businesses that have been funded include Virgin and Boeing, while smaller projects, such as solar manufacturing company Eco-Kinetics and its Gold Coast facility, have also been funded.

Seeney has reportedly said businesses either succeed or fail without the incentive.

Seeney, who also acts as the state’s infrastructure and development minister, told the Australian Financial Review he feels the state has become over-regulated, promising to cut development times for large business projects.

“We have told the [state] co-ordinator general to clear that backlog as quickly as possible and focus on projects [with] a chance of getting up. It’s the time that they sit in abeyance that costs business ­money and moves projects elsewhere.”

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