TAA welcomes strong funding commitment for tourism in ‘tough’ budget, but disappointed that ‘backpacker tax’ is maintained
Australia’s peak accommodation body, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), has welcomed the support for tourism in the 2016 Federal Budget, with a range of measures that will maintain the industry’s competitive edge.
TAA welcomed the maintenance of funding for Tourism Australia, the $43 million Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure Program to improve the quality of regional tourism infrastructure, the decision by the Government to freeze the Passenger Movement Charge and a range of measures to make it easier for international visitors to access visas.
“In what is considered a ‘tough’ Budget, the measures outlined by the Government provide a real vote of confidence in the industry and its ability to generate both income and employment for the Australian economy,” said TAA Chair, Martin Ferguson.
“Latest Government figures showed that tourism – and particularly the accommodation sector – has been one of the most powerful drivers of employment in the Australian economy, with the number of people directly employed in the tourism industry reaching 580,800 in 2014-15, an increase of 6.3 per cent on the previous year.
“It has been estimated that over 120,000 new positions will be required in the industry over the next five years, and it is encouraging that the Government is placing major emphasis on youth employment through the new ‘PaTH’ program.
“We welcome the overall Budget stimulus for many millions of Australians through tax cuts, and smaller tourism companies will benefit from the cut in company taxation and the decision to continue immediate depreciation of equipment purchases.
“However, regional and remote areas will lose access to a vital source of labour if the Government proceeds with the ‘backpacker tax’ from 1 July. The tax concessions have provided incentive for backpackers and other temporary visitors to work in regional areas and provide an important source of seasonal labour that often cannot be sourced locally. The tax will be regressive for the tourism sector and could affect the viability of many regional and remote tourism businesses.”