|MICHAEL Withington, 39, is an economic refugee. A solicitor with international law firm Herbert Smith, he and his wife decided eight years ago to pack up and, with their one-year-old baby, move to Hong Kong.
He is one of many highly skilled expatriates who could be lost forever because of Australia's high rates of tax for middle-income earners.
"Australia's taxes are too heavy, and salaries are much better here. The level of tax is a major disincentive to returning, despite the other advantages Australia offers."
While he wishes his nine-year-old son could have the lifestyle he experienced growing up in Australia, life had become a financial trade-off.
Instead of paying the 47 per cent top marginal tax rate in Australia, in Hong Kong he pays a 15 per cent flat rate, which means his family can accumulate more wealth than they could ever have hoped to in Australia.