The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has said there is good news and bad news for Australia’s booming visitor economy in the Federal Budget.
“We are pleased to see the certainty of funding for Tourism Australia over the next four years but given the Treasurer’s strong rhetoric on supporting the future industries of the Australian economy which would include the tourism sector, we would certainty expect to see a significant increase in funding for Tourism Australia in the future,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.
“The Federal Government’s decision to stay its hand on visa fees and the continuing freeze of the Passenger Movement charge at the current $55 rate is good news.”
Ms Osmond said the industry is, however, bitterly disappointed that the Government has decided to forge ahead with the 32.5 per cent backpacker tax on working holiday makers.
“The Federal Government’s destructive backpacker tax is going to smash the number of people choosing Australia as a backpacking destination when working holiday makers are taxed 32.5 per cent on every dollar they earn on their holiday.
“Working holiday backpackers are a crucial source of labour for tourist operators in remote and regional parts of Australia. These are businesses that are heavily influenced by seasonality and locations where it is extremely difficult to find local or permanent staff.
“TTF will be actively working during the Federal Election campaign to hold both sides of politics to account to continue the freeze on the Passenger Movement Charge, scrap the backpacker tax, reform visas, boost Tourism Australia and privatise the Tourist Refund Scheme.’’
Ms Osmond said on the transport front it is positive to see a down payment in this budget on the Federal Government’s renewed interest in investing in our cities and public transport.
“The establishment of an infrastructure financing unit to work with private sector to develop financing solutions for important infrastructure projects is a positive announcement.
“We are starting to see the fruits of the Federal Government’s Asset Recycling Scheme with a number of states and territories taking advantage of the fund to recycle their “lazy assets” into new productive economic infrastructure such as the Sydney and Melbourne metro rail projects.
“However, industry would like to see additional funding and support from the Government for high priority transport projects such as the Brisbane cross river rail, the Perth light rail and airport rail link and the AdeLINK tram network in Adelaide.”