Unions have criticised a federal opposition discussion paper that explores splitting Australia into different tax zones and moving public service jobs north.

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) national secretary Nadine Flood says most Australians would support sensible moves to boost employment in the north but the coalition's plan fails the credibility test.

"Most public servants can't be forced to relocate such long distances," Ms Flood said.

"This means many employees would be forced into taking redundancies which would be costly and reduce the experience and skill levels of the Australian public service.

"The only way (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott would be able to force people to move from one side of Australia to the other is to radically change the Fair Work Act.

"And if that's what he's planning to do, he should tell people before the election, not after."

The Construction Forestry, Forest Products, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said Mr Abbott's plan was inspired by mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

"Offering special tax rates and immigration arrangements in a resource-rich region like northern Australia gives mining companies a free kick," CFMEU national president Tony Maher said.

"It's frightening to think of an Abbott government developing policy according to Gina Rinehart's poetry."

 

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