Consider all options

Parochialism does not always pass muster when you live in a border community.

After all, whether a company from outside the region chooses Wodonga or Albury to set-up shop is not necessarily at the heart of the issue.

It is undeniable that benefits will flow to the respective city from having had a decision made in its favour.

For one, the respective council can certainly expect to see a nice little top-up in its rates base.

There is the potential for the new business to spend more of its dollars in its immediate community than the one over the river.

With that though, there is also the possibility that this spend is spread over both towns, if it necessarily happens to a great extent at all. The city chosen as the new home for the particular business will also earn some bragging rights about the vibrancy of their community.

But when you live in a shared community such as Albury-Wodonga, many of these arguments fail.

The priority should always be getting a company to relocate to the region.

The particular business might be better suited, for example, to Albury because of the proximity to its airport, or Wodonga because an industrial estate already has businesses that complement the new business’s supply chain.

Such a large number of Albury-Wodonga residents are well-used to having to cross the state border every day to get to work, so any argument in favour of jobs growth for one city over another is deeply flawed.

That said, it has now been said by Albury MP Greg Aplin that he does not believe people will leave NSW as a result of better financial incentives in Victoria.

The comments from Mr Aplin, the deputy chair of the committee conducting an inquiry into zonal taxation, came as he told the NSW Parliament that he did not believe tax cuts would stop businesses leaving NSW for a better deal elsewhere.

This came in the wake of the Victorian government’s decision in 2017 to give payroll tax cuts to businesses based in regional areas, leading Seeley International to decide to relocate from Albury to Wodonga in July.

Mr Aplin is right when he says businesses look at a whole host of reasons as to why they choose one state over another.

But all the same, NSW would do well to not discount the merits of the approach taken by other states.