Bob Katter on the right payroll tax track

I don’t think there will be many occasions when SmartCompany agrees with Queensland politician Bob Katter and his Australia Party, which has made next month’s Queensland election its first electoral test.

Bob doesn’t want a carbon tax – sorry Bob, not with you there.

Bob’s got a very strong firearms policy and wants to allow hunting on Crown land – um, not sure we’d be behind that either.

Bob wants a 12 month moratorium on coal seam gas exploration – bit over the top for us, Bob.

Bob wants to “bust up the Coles/Woolworths duopoly” – there are problems with the duo’s market power, but I’m not sure we’d support that level of government intervention.

But one area we can agree with Bob is around payroll tax, which he wants to cut by increasing the threshold at which this insidious tax starts from $1 million to $2 million.

And that’s not all, according to the Queensland state leader of Katter’s Australian Party, Aidan McLindon.

“Katter’s Australian Party understands that by lifting the payroll tax threshold we can begin the journey of phasing it out into the long-term future,” McLindon said yesterday.

Phase out payroll tax? That’s music to our ears.

Now, we know that Katter’s party has a snowflake’s chance in Cairns of winning enough seats in the Queensland election to get any cuts to payroll tax through the state’s Parliament. We also note there are no indications as to how the State would pay for the cuts and eventually abolition.

But Katter’s stand is timely.

As politicians around Australia wring their hands about job losses at large Australian companies and scramble to promise “assistance” packages that will only last for months, no one is talking about the biggest tax on jobs we’ve got – payroll tax.

Finding some way to phase this tax out around the country, in a joint effort between state and federal governments, would encourage the job creators of the future – Australia’s army of SMEs – to keep growing and keep employing, safe in the knowledge that they won’t receive a financial whack if they do so.

No amount of structural assistance is going to help save the manufacturing jobs that will go this year. The structural change in that sector, which has been occurring for decades and has been accelerated by the high Australian dollar, is too hard to combat with cash.

But investing in the abolition of payroll tax would represent the sort of economic reform that could allow growing SMEs to help offset job losses from our biggest sectors.

Jobs need to be our highest priority right now. And in this context, payroll tax – the worst tax on jobs there is – should go.


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