Shooters Fishers and Farmers 'officially' announce John Preston as its Upper Hunter candidate

THE worst kept secret in local politics was unveiled on Wednesday when the Shooters Fishers and Farmers (SFF) “officially” rolled out John Preston as its candidate for the state seat of Upper Hunter.

The party’s MLC, Robert Brown, made the announcement at Muswellbrook’s Simpson Park, meaning Mr Preston now lines-up against standing Nationals member Michael Johnsen and Country Labor’s Martin Rush for the top spot in the electorate.

“I reckon John will give it a red-hot crack,” he said.

“The party has high expectations for Upper Hunter, Orange and Murray.”

Mr Preston is no stranger to the area, having been the SFF’s Hunter spokesman for the past 12 months.

He’s also been a vocal advocate for many issues in Scone, Muswellbrook and Singleton during that time.

“2019 is a game-changer election year,” Mr Preston said.

“I won’t let the Nationals drive the get-away car for the Liberals any more.

“It has to stop.

“And, I believe Upper Hunter will be an extremely close race.”

2019 is a game-changer election year.

John Preston

The duo took the opportunity to introduce the SFF’s payroll tax exemption policy, too.

“When the National Party and Liberal Party government came into power in 2011, they said New South Wales was open for business,” Mr Preston explained.

“Unfortunately for the bush, what they really meant was ‘Sydney is open for business’.

“All the benefits have gone to the city at the expense of rural areas.

“We want payroll tax to be cut to zero for all regions outside Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong.

“Cutting that will encourage businesses to set up shop in rural areas; and give those already in the bush the boost they deserve.

“We estimate that this will cost $120 million per year – and is a drop in the ocean compared to the $4.1 billion windfall that New South Wales just received for handing-over the Snowy Hydro scheme to the federal government.”

Mr Brown also called on the Nationals to have his party’s payroll tax exemption included in the upcoming state budget.

“Anything less than a payroll tax cut for all rural areas in this year’s budget will be another failure by them to stand up for regional New South Wales,” he added.

“Cutting payroll tax for the bush will encourage investment outside of the major coastal cities, boost employment, and ensure that our state is a step closer to being truly decentralised.

“New South Wales is not just Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong.”

Payroll tax explained:

Payroll tax in New South Wales is levied on employers with payrolls exceeding $750,000 at a flat rate of 5.45 per cent. 

This figure doesn’t just include wages, but also covers employer superannuation contributions, leave loading, long service leave provision, fringe benefits, and workers compensation.

The areas covered by this payroll tax exemption will be defined by rural Local Government Areas outside Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong.

How this will affect businesses:

A small accounting practice with a payroll of $1,000,000 dollars (about 8-10 employees) will save nearly $18,884 a year. They can think about hiring a part timer or trainee.

10 employees at an average $85,000 per annum $850,000

Including on costs at 29% $1,096,500

Less threshold ($750,000)

Payroll tax @ 5.45% $18,884

A medium size engineering firm with 50 staff and a payroll of $4,250,000 will save over a $250,000 per annum and can think about avoiding redundancies through an industry downturn and have time to reorganise and pursue other opportunities.

50 employees at an average $85,000 per annum $4,250,000

Including on costs at 29% $5,482,500

Less threshold ($750,000)

Payroll tax @ 5.45% $257,921

A seasonal employer in agriculture with seasonal conditions, permanent and casual staff with a $2,000,000 payroll can stay out of the payroll tax system completely, cut red tape, be able to attract they staff it needs by paying extra and save nearly $100,000 a year.

15 casual and permanent employees $2,000,000

Including on costs at 29% $2,580,000

Less threshold ($750,000)

Payroll tax @ 5.45% $99,735

NB: The figure for payrolls include wages and employer superannuation contributions, leave loading, long service leave provision, fringe benefits, and workers compensation.

Rural council areas:

The following Council areas will benefit from this policy and have been specifically chosen to exclude Newcastle, Sydney, and Wollongong:

  • Armidale Regional Council
  • Ballina Shire Council
  • Balranald Shire
  • Bathurst Region
  • Bega Valley Shire
  • Berrigan Shire
  • Bland Shire
  • Blayney Shire
  • Bogan Shire
  • Bourke Shire
  • Brewarrina Shire
  • Byron Shire Council
  • Carathool Shire
  • Central Coast Shire Council
  • Central Darling Shire
  • City of Albury
  • City of Broken Hill
  • City of Cessnock
  • City of Coffs Harbour
  • City of Griffith
  • City of Hawkesbury 
  • City of Lake Macquarie
  • City of Lismore
  • City of Lithgow
  • City of Maitland 
  • City of Orange
  • City of Shoahaven
  • City of Wagga Wagga
  • Clarence Valley Council
  • Cobar Shire
  • Cobonne Shire
  • Coolamon Shire
  • Coonamble Shire
  • Cowra Shire
  • Dungog Shire 
  • Edward River Council
  • Eurobodalla Shire Council
  • Federation Council
  • Forbes Shire
  • Gillgandra Shire
  • Glen Innes Seven Council
  • Goulburn Mulwaree Council
  • Greater Hume Shire
  • Gundagai Council
  • Gunnedah Shire
  • Gwydir Shire
  • Hastings Shire
  • Hay Shire Council
  • Hilltops Council
  • Inverell Shire
  • June Shire
  • Kempsey Shire
  • Kyogle Shire
  • Lachlan Shire
  • Lepton Shire
  • Liverpool Plains Shire
  • Lockhart Shire Council
  • Mid Coast Council
  • Midwestern Regional Council
  • Moree Plains Shire
  • Murray River Council
  • Murrumbidgee Shire
  • Muswellbrook Shire
  • Nambucca Shire
  • Narrabri Shire
  • Narrandera Shire
  • Narromine Shire
  • Oberon Shire Council
  • Parkes Shire
  • Port Stephens Council
  • Queanbeyan Palarang Shire Council
  • Richmond Valley Council
  • Singleton Shire
  • Snowy Monaro Shire Council
  • Snowy Valleys Council
  • Tamworth Region
  • Temora Shire
  • Tenterfield Shire
  • Tweed Shire
  • Unincorporated Far West Region
  • Upper Hunter Shire Council
  • Upper Lachlan Shire Council
  • Uralla Shire 
  • Walachia Council
  • Walgett Shire
  • Warren Shire
  • Warrumbungle Shire
  • Weddin Shire Council
  • Wentworth Shire
  • Western Plains Regional Council
  • Wingecarribee shire council
  • Wollondilly Shire Council
  • Yass Valley Council