Australian Mining Cities Alliance chair and City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Mayor John Bowler is lobbying the Australian Government to exclude regional accommodation from the Fringe Benefit Tax in an attempt to increase the local workforce in regional cities.
According to the Australian Taxation Office, fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers are exempt from the tax if an employee’s usual place of employment is at a remote location in Australia, overseas, or on oil rigs or other installations at sea.
FIFO workers are also exempt if employees are provided with accommodation at or near the worksite on working days.
Bowler said since the Fringe Benefit Tax was introduced it is now more viable to fly the worker in and out and the companies can claim that tax back in the one year.
“So that is what we are doing as the AMCA is we are engaging former WA MP Brendon Grylls, who I worked with in the WA Parliament, to lobby on our behalf to exclude regional accommodation from the Fringe Benefit Tax,” Bowler said.
“So let’s get a level playing field so companies go out of their way to provide a quality of life for their workers where they can tuck their kids in at night.”
The AMCA aims to consider and address issues and progress the economic development of mining cities across Australia.
The organisation welcomed the City of Karratha as its latest member in July.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the City’s preference is for a residential workforce as it contributes to the sustainability and growth of the community.
“We understand that temporary workers are required for certain major projects and FIFO does provide the ability to mobilise large temporary workforces, usually for short term constructions and maintenance,” he said.
Long says reforms to the Fringe Benefit Tax would be beneficial for the City of Karratha.
“Currently the City is supporting advocacy efforts to reform Fringe Benefit Tax to achieve fairer outcomes for residential home-owners in the community and the City has also implemented the highly successful Karratha is Calling campaign to shift perceptions of regional areas.” he said.