SENATOR Barnaby Joyce met with the Central Highlands Regional Council in Emerald yesterday to discuss local concerns.
Health services, housing, roads, and water and sewerage were among the issues raised with Sen Joyce, in what Mayor Peter Maguire described as a “very productive meeting”.
Sen Joyce said it was time local governments had the power to demand the Federal Government invest in this vital infrastructure.
“People in Central Queensland don’t necessarily want their money to go via Brisbane before it gets here. They want to receive it direct,” said Sen Joyce.
“Central Queensland contributes so much to the wealth of our nation via royalties and they have a right to get more of it back.
“This is why there needs to be constitutional recognition of Local Government, to create a more direct form of relationship between the Federal Government and local governments and ultimately gives more power to local governments in representing their people.”
With mining camps and fly in, fly out workforces causing concern across the Highlands, council welcomed Sen Joyce’s proposal for ‘zonal’ taxation.
“The (‘zonal’ taxation) policy I have on the table would give five Local Government areas the capacity to cap tax rates so that an individual does not pay tax until they earn over $55,000, a couple will not pay until they earn over $75,000 and a couple with two children will not pay tax until they earn over $85,000,” said Sen Joyce.
“But crucially, it’s for individuals who both work and live in the area, to try and get people from fly in, fly out, to fly in and live.”
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