REMOVING payroll tax and a buy local scheme have been advocated by Vote1 Local Jobs in a bid to turn around the south-west’s struggling retail sector.
Party leader James Purcell said the growing number of empty shopfronts in regional centres needed to be curbed and government had the potential to stimulate growth.
If elected, Mr Purcell said his party would press to cut payroll tax for small enterprises located outside Melbourne as an incentive to attract business people to regional areas.
“There is a proactive role for state government to play and there’s a real need out there to build up business in regional centres,” the Port Fairy accountant said.
“Empty shops is not just a problem in Warrnambool or Portland. You see it in a lot of regional centres as business continues to centralise in the inner city and suburbs of Melbourne.”
Under Mr Purcell’s plan, state payroll tax would be abolished for all regional businesses, although it would remain in place in Melbourne.
Metropolitan businesses would be required to pay an extra one per cent on top of the current rate as a way of paying for the shortfall.
Mr Purcell said all businesses paid 4.85 per cent payroll tax once they reached $550,000 in wages. He said the city-country tax divide would encourage more businesses to relocate to the country.