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Briefcase: Palmer weighs in on payroll tax

By Stephen Lacey

Mining mogul Clive Palmer has told the Queensland government it should abolish payroll tax in a bid to boost the Sunshine State's ailing economy and attract interstate companies.

"It would demonstrate to the community that Queensland is open for business, providing a huge incentive for medium and large businesses to be relocated here and drive our economy forward," Palmer said in a statement.

The billionaire businessman has been at loggerheads with the Newman government since it announced higher royalties for the coal industry in this month's budget.

Penalty shootout

Some of the nation's lowest-paid workers will be the big losers if penalty rates are cut, according to a submission by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Such a cut would mean waiters would lose an average of $58 a week, while hairdressers and fast-food staff would have their pay packets reduced by an average $37 a week.

The submission lodged with Fair Work Australia follows a push by employer groups in retail, fast food and hospitality to have penalties cut, especially at weekends.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, commented on the report, stating that the Gillard government had been unequivocal in its support for penalty rates, especially on weekends and public holidays.

"Additional payments to employees who work on weekends, late at night and on public holidays have long been a feature of the Australian workplace relations system," Shorten says.

A lot of hot air

A new wind farm planned for far north Queensland could create up to 250 jobs and inject more than $100 million into the local community. That's according to RATCH-Australia, the company behind the plan to build what will be the region's largest wind-generated electricity project.

RATCH-Australia and partner Port Bajool want approval to erect more than 75 turbines at Mount Emerald, on the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns.

However, some residents are campaigning against the proposal, raising concerns about noise and adverse environmental effects.

Paper cuts

Who will be left to turn out the lights at Fairfax?

This time, the redundancy program rolls across Bass Strait, with five jobs being cut in the Apple Isle's north.

Fairfax will axe four subeditor positions from The Examiner in Launceston and one at The Advocate in Burnie, citing the reason as "challenging local economic conditions".

Published: 22 September 2012

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