AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury has called on Labor, the Greens and all the parliamentary crossbenchers to block passage of the government’s proposed increase in departure tax.
Every Australian planning an overseas holiday next year should object to their local member of parliament about the government’s decision, Westbury added.
Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and the Australian Tourism Expert Council (ATEC) have added their voices to those opposing the departure tax hike. The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has already made its opposition clear. See: Backpacker tax cut but departure tax rises
Westbury said that while the rise, at 9% or AUD 5, “may not seem like a lot of money” it became a lot when you considered it would increase the charge for leaving Australia to AUD 60 per person, meaning a family of four heading overseas on holiday “will pay AUD 240 in tax for the privilege”.
“Enough is enough,” Westbury declared.
He pointed out that the departure tax at its current rate of AUD 55 per passenger “has, over the last three years, contributed more than AUD 2.5 billion and will contribute an additional AUD 3 billion over the forward estimates”. That was more than enough to cover “such things as e-gates, a counter terrorism unit and improved passenger facilitation”.
“As the increase will need to be approved by the Parliament, AFTA and the travel industry is calling on Labor, the Greens and all of the crossbenchers to block this increase,” Westbury stated, added that the Treasurer had failed to provide appropriate justification for it.
“The industry is insulted at the suggestion that we do not already pay our fair share of tax and contributions to the budget…”
ATEC managing director, Peter Shelley, expressed his organisation’s disappointment in the government’s move to lift departure tax, while praising its decision to lower the proposed backpacker tax, and reduce the fee for youth and backpacker visas.
“As a AUD 38 billion export industry we need to get the policy settings right and build positive engagement with Australia from the international market, rather than taking short sighted decisions which threaten permanent damage to our success,” Shelley said.
Written by Peter Needham