We are all familiar with issues that regularly occur in Karratha and other resource-dominated towns across the country when the economy hots up and housing availability falls, while prices rise.
At last Wednesday’s City of Karratha/KDCCI Business Breakfast, a campaign entitled “More Than Mining” was launched, its intent being to change the taxation basis for regions that are remote and where employers commonly have to supply housing to employees.
Currently, companies enjoy a 100% Fringe Benefits Tax deduction for the supply of housing, but others can only get a 50% FBT deduction.
The campaign’s simple message is that ordinary mums and dads should be taxed at the same rate as companies when it comes to the purchase of housing in remote mining communities.
This important initiative would mean that local businesses’ employees could purchase or rent a house with pre-tax income, lowering their tax, and providing them with more available funds to cover living costs.
This means businesses can better attract and retain skilled, residential workforces and that there is less need for the business to cover housing because there is more incentive for employees source their own housing.
This policy creates no new costs for mining companies, but rather, seeks to normalise living costs and empower individuals to purchase or rent their own properties and able to comfortably afford their living expenses. This normalises conditions in regional communities, meaning employees are not dependant on employers for housing provision.
At a time when the Australian Government is conducting its own Inquiry into housing affordability, the More Than Mining initiative offers a practical and meaningful solution that would level the playing field for ordinary people in these communities.