Labor dangles tax relief incentive

ANY company willing to build the Bell Bay pulp mill could save up to $15 million a year under a Labor government. 

Premier Lara Giddings yesterday confirmed payroll tax relief would be available for a future pulp mill proponent.

Under changes introduced in 2012, a business is exempt from paying payroll tax on any new jobs created.

Ms Giddings estimated the government would forgo $15 million in payroll tax a year during the three-year construction phase involving 3000 jobs. 

The incentive, which would not apply beyond the construction phase, is designed to make the former Gunns asset more attractive to potential buyers.  

Seven parties interested in the failed timber company's assets, including the Bell Bay project's permit and land, have until the end of the month to submit their bids to receivers KordaMentha. 

Ms Giddings said she wanted the company that bought the project to get started on construction without delay.  

``We want to create jobs, and we want to see a pulp mill built at Bell Bay. By providing the same payroll tax relief provisions that already exist, a Labor government would be doing all it can to have this project constructed as quickly as possible,'' Ms Giddings said.

The offer will not impact on the budget bottom line as no revenue from the pulp mill had been factored in. 

The Liberals  also promise to extend the payroll tax incentive to include any new jobs created by June 2015, but have capped the scheme at $4 million.

KordaMentha spokesman Michael Smith said potential buyers were conducting a thorough due diligence. 

Mr Smith said KordaMentha's sole priority was to get the best result for Gunns' secured creditors and has not ruled out selling the plantation and other assets without the pulp mill. 


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