Residents slam flood levy
TAXPAYERS with wages $50,000 and higher will collectively pay $1.8 billion next fin- ancial year under the flood levy announced yesterday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
People affected by the floods and low-income earners will not have to pay.
“A levy of 0.5 per cent will be applied on taxable income between $50,001 and $100,000 and a levy of 1 per cent will be applied on taxable income above $100,000,” Ms Gillard said.
There were mixed reactions to the announcement.
Queensland LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek criticised the flood tax.
“The last thing that Queenslanders need is a flood tax on top of the other effects of the floods,” he said.
“Many Queenslanders are fighting tough times and many have been indirectly affected by the floods.”
Southern Downs Mayor Ron Bellingham said the levy is totally unnecessary and he did not support it. He said the government should create an economy that could withstand natural disasters.
Local government, he said, was in the best position to deliver the funding equitably.
“Funding should be delivered to local government with minimal strings attached,” Cr Bellingham said.
Warwick Chamber of Commerce president David Littleproud said the chamber had some concerns about the levy.
“Although low-income earners are not paying, it will have some impact on higher earners' discretionary spending,” he said.
Mr Littleproud said the chamber wanted funding to be directed towards the restoration of the road at Cunningham's Gap.
“The chamber wants this part of the world to get its fair share. We want confidence restored in the road,” he said.
Flood-affected Warwick residents also expressed concerns about the levy.
Homeowner Sharon Hemmings, who lost thousands of dollars of property, welcomed the levy but had concerns about the money not going to the people who needed it most.
She said she would like to see some money go to improve drainage in her area.
Another affected homeowner, Rod Parry, said the government should find another way to get the money.
“Australia is quick to throw money overseas. Look after us, not just other people. (The government) should take a pay cut themselves,” he said.
One flood victim, who asked not to be named, said otherpeople should not have to cover the costs of those affected by the floods. “You can't tax the people who weren't flooded, that's not fair,” she said.