Subsidy cut to hurt business

THE Tweed's economy will suffer if the Rees Government goes ahead with plans to scrap a fuel subsidy scheme, warns the head of a local economic development group.

Tom Senti said the Rees Government should consider making the Tweed a special economic zone, allowing conditions to help businesses and enterprise in the area rather than agreeing to changes that would hurt growth.

"Axing the petrol subsidy will be a major impediment to the sustainability of the Tweed community and on the growth of the economy," Mr Senti said of the mini-budget's plan to cut the fuel subsidy from June 30.

"Scrapping the 8 cents per litre subsidy for residents and businesses will create a real border to business growth on the Tweed.

"We need more jobs on the Tweed to provide work for the tens of thousands who are expected to move here before 2031, and the only way to provide those jobs is through growing small business and industry."

Mr Senti said the decision added to the legislation already in place that made it difficult to attract business to Tweed.

"This decision is part of a range of cross-border issues that are disadvantaging economic growth at the top end of the state," he said.

"We pay more payroll tax and stamp duty, there are the ongoing problems of daylight savings and a planned increase in land taxes that will all restrict growth.

"The Rees Government decision doesn't take into account that the Tweed is part of the south-east Queensland growth corridor. If it is more expensive for business to set up here, they will elect to relocate or establish themselves across the border."

Mr Senti said residents and businesses would travel across the border for cheaper fuel, making it difficult for local service stations to be competitive.

"Recent figures suggest that 11,469 Tweed residents cross the border for work, and we know where they will buy fuel if it is cheaper across the border," Mr Senti said.

He made the point that because more than 30 per cent of the population got its primary income from government allowances, coupled with an expected population boom, the time was now to firm up Tweed's future.

"The downturn in the global economic climate is already affecting retail business and consumer confidence, or where and when people will spend their money on the Tweed."



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