More than Mining
Regional Development Australia Goldfields Esperance are working together with the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and other key stakeholders in the More than Mining Campaign to promote and support the campaign to Parliament.
Regional mining communities such as those found in the Goldfields region are the engine rooms of Australia’s economy; however, sustainability of these communities is threatened by the housing affordability (and availability) crisis. Repositioning mining towns and cities as financially attractive, long-term propositions with economic diversity and thriving, inclusive communities has never been more important as it enables them to build resilience against resource sector downturns and promotes community.
The proposed More than Mining tax reform cuts straight to the core to reshape Fringe Benefits Tax policy to support people with an affordable housing solution, independent of resource-sector employers. The proposal is simply to expand Fringe Benefits Tax concessions from 50% to 100% for individuals in regional mining communities, meaning that people could buy or rent a house completely with pre-tax dollars – lowering their taxable income and leaving them with more money to cover living costs.
Incentivising at the individual level triggers a multitude of cascading benefits and effects:
- More affordable housing to buy and rent
- Relocation of skilled labour to regional communities
- Slowing population churn, as residents choose to live in these communities longer
- Stabilising demand for housing (and therefore stabilising house prices)
- Stabilising demand for local businesses, supporting their stability and prosperity
- Normalising cost of living and access to services.
How can people get involved?
More Than Mining is encouraging Australians in regional mining communities to sign the change.org petition to change the Fringe Benefits Tax rules for mining communities.
You could also use the online calculator at www.morethanmining.com.au to estimate your individual housing cost savings. The Tax Benefit calculator allows you to input your taxable income and housing costs to estimate the savings you could make as a resident of an Australian mining community if the More Than Mining policy was adopted.
"You've got to be adaptable to the boom bust cycles here. Over the last 20 years we have learnt to build a resilient business that responds to the challenges. As a regional focused business - our people who are our most important tool - we have to protect them in both instances. We want to give people opportunities when we ramp up, but I need to ensure they are protected when things slow down. You really have to be adaptable - in the bust and the boom.
The situation we are in now - we are trying to get people here, and clients are demanding more of our service. If we have an increased residential workforce here, we can flex more rapidly because we have a pool of people to draw on. We have to build a bigger and stronger community so we can support things like our sporting clubs, and be stronger together. I will always prioritise a residential role over FIFO, but we don't have a big enough residential workforce here yet for me and my business."
This campaign is about ensuring that Australia's small and medium businesses, can build a long term residential workforce, to continue to support the sectors, that support the nation. These are our communities and our stories... and this one is from Murray Leahy, resident and business owner of MLG Oz - Kalgoorlie. Next time you see Murray walking down the street in Kalgoorlie, shake his hand, shout him a coffee and tell him how lucky you are to have his business in your community.