THE Rudd Government is uniquely placed to solve this country’s perennial failure to develop and service major population and commercial centers outside of capital cities, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) advanced today, releasing its Issues Paper Population Policy: A Taxing Issue.
“With the release of the Henry tax review imminent, it’s time to seriously deal with population policy in Australia and pull the tax trigger to re-energize and grow the under-developed 97% of the country that is regional Australia,” NFF President David Crombie declared.
“Genuine tax incentives and the commercial opportunities they drive are essential to major businesses setting up substantial and long-standing operations in regional areas. With businesses come jobs, prosperity and growing communities.
“Governments can’t make people move to regional areas, but by creating the case for businesses to start-up or relocate operations off the back of innovative and worthwhile tax advantages, people will follow the employment opportunities for themselves and their families.
“It’s an investment long overdue, but it’s also a solution to Australia’s unsustainable coastal city-centric population headache, with our major cities already suffocating under the weight of a national population of just 22 million people.
“In fact, about 88% of our total population is crammed into and around small coastal recesses, mainly Sydney and Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth – that’s just 3% of the landmass.
“Unless we, as a nation, entice businesses and people to major regional cities as new commerce hubs, come 2050 36 million people will choke our cities to a dysfunctional standstill.
“To our detriment we have fixated on small coastal areas to the point that major transport arterials are perpetually clogged, vital community services, such as healthcare, are forever collapsing and pressure on housing affordability is off the charts.
“In America the historic catchcry was “go west”. It was premised on a new world full of new opportunities. Along the way, the broader landmass was populated and, today, when you travel through the US you regularly come across major inland cities and commercial centers.
“In Australia today we too need to think big. Abandoning development of regional Australia is no longer a luxury this country can afford. As our population climbs to 36 million over the next 40 years, we need to relieve pressure on metropolitan areas and grow the country at the same time.”
The NFF’s Issues Paper Population Policy: A Taxing Issue is available online at: http://www.nff.org.au/policy/farm -business.html