Chairman of the LLS board of chairs John Macarthur-Stanham.THE Local Land Services (LLS) is paying more payroll tax than one of the organisations it replaced.
However, the amount is not considered enough to warrant major concern within the organisation, says chairman of the LLS board of chairs John Macarthur-Stanham.
He confirmed his organisation had paid more payroll tax than the Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA) did previously.
“The LHPAs did pay some payroll tax, but as distinct entities (rather than a single State-wide body) it was less,” he said.
Chris Sweeney, “Wattle Grove”, Forbes, was involved in the LHPA prior to the creation of LLS and he was not surprised.
By combining the LHPA with the Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and parts of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) into one organisation, Mr Sweeney said the new organisation suddenly had hundreds more staff with a bigger wage bill that could attract payroll tax.
“The CMA and DPI didn’t pay it (payroll tax) because they were government organisations, but rolling the three into one, you’re going to have a high wage bill,” he said.
“From my understanding, LLS is paying a lot more.”
He said this was like an additional tax on landholders, who already paid their own taxes to the State government, only to see some of their rates to LLS also being used for payroll tax.
Mr Sweeney said this concern had been raised by people within LHPA prior to the creation of LLS, but it was ignored.
“The people putting it together thought it wouldn’t be a big problem,” he said.
While Mr Macarthur-Stanham couldn’t recall the total payroll tax bill, he said it was a small amount to pay out of LLS’s total revenue.
“We’re only talking about a couple of million (dollars) at most,” he said.
According to the Auditor General’s financial audit of the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, the total revenue of LLS for 2014 was $106m, meaning less than two per cent of its revenue was spent on payroll tax, if Mr Macarthur-Stanham’s estimate was accurate.
“I don’t think it’s a major issue,” he said.
LLS would still release all figures surrounding this for those who wanted to check for themselves, he said.
“We will have full disclosure when the accounts are put on our website.”
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