Prime Minister Julia Gillard meets student Flosy Ganier at the Ipswich Showgrounds flood evacuation centre.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard meets student Flosy Ganier at the Ipswich Showgrounds flood evacuation centre. Sarah Harvey

Australians to pay flood levy

IPSWICH residents not affected by the floods will join other Australians in paying a one-off flood levy.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday announced details of the levy, which will apply only in the 2011-12 financial year and is expected to raise $1.8 billion to help flood recovery efforts.

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.

Labor Member 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.

“This extraordinary disaster required an extraordinary response, and that is exactly what you are seeing from the government.”

He said most people would not mind paying the one-off tax to help Ipswich and the state get back on its feet.

LNP Member for Wright Scott Buchholz, whose electorate covers the devastated Lockyer Valley region, said he was concerned the levy would slug people who are already struggling and donated to flood appeals.

Mr Buchholz said a lot of people in the region were still grieving or searching for lost loved ones, and that the levy would be the last thing on their mind.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said Ipswich needs financial help and said he backed the levy because those affected by the floods will not have to pay it.

Cr Pisasale said some people might complain about the extra tax but said people had to keep in mind it was a large natural disaster that devastated 75 per cent of the state.

“The city of Ipswich needs help. If it was going to affect those who have been hit hard by the flood, I wouldn't support it,” Cr Pisasale.

To be classed as a flood victim and not pay the levy, residents will have to successfully apply for the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) for floods this financial year.

To access the AGDRP, eligibility requirements include residents who were injured or related to someone who died in the disaster, and residents who had their homes destroyed or damaged or had gone without power or other utilities for 48 hours during the flood.

Ms Gillard said the Federal Government would make an immediate upfront payment to Queensland of $2 billion.



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