Opposition leader Tony Abbott meets volunteer workers in the Gatton relief distribution centre in Railway Street Gatton on Friday.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott meets volunteer workers in the Gatton relief distribution centre in Railway Street Gatton on Friday. Rob Williams

Abbott slams flood levy

OPPOSITION leader Tony Abbott has slammed the introduction of a one-off flood levy, telling flood- affected residents in the Lockyer Valley it was “unnecessary”.

Under the new scheme, announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday, people affected by the floods will not have to pay the one-off levy, which will be 0.5 per cent on taxable income between $50,001 and $100,000 and one per cent on taxable income above $100,000.

Ms Gillard said early figures put the cost of the flood at $5.6 billion, including rebuilding and disaster-assistance payments, and hoped by introducing the levy more than $1.8 million would be raised to help fund the cost.

But Mr Abbott, after seeing the extent of damage in the Lockyer Valley and Ipswich regions first-hand, acknowledged that money needed to be spent but said the Federal levy was unnecessary.

“This has obviously been an unprecedented disaster for this community and a lot of people are still grieving,” Mr Abbott said.

“People have suffered enough without needing a new tax.”

“Volunteers and some victims will have to pay the tax . We have seen people at their best through this crisis and it would be nice to see government at its best.”

Mr Abbott said the alternative to the levy is for the government to cut and reprioritise its existing spending.

A Queensland Times poll revealed 76 per cent of people in the Ipswich region are against the levy, 19 per cent of readers support it and three per cent said it depends on the circumstances.

A Laidley resident who lost everything in the floods said she supported the additional tax.

“It's a one-off tax that will benefit our communities across Queensland, so I can't see why people wouldn't be in favour of it,” she said.

Federal MP for Blair Shayne Neumann said the levy plan was a winner because people directly affected by the floods or by those on incomes of less than $50,000 won't have to pay it.

“It's only a one-off, very small amount,” Mr Neumann said.



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