Labor ignores industry – supports Government’s tourist taxes

Labor’s decision to support the federal government’s tourism taxes is a huge disappointment, Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) CEO Mary Osmond said today.

Yesterday Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen confirmed Labor would support $2.4 billion of the government’s budget savings measures, including the $540 million ‘backpacker tax’.

“It is disappointing to see Labor throwing its support behind measures that will hurt our visitor economy,” Ms Osmond said.

“Industry has serious concerns that this measure will significantly reduce Australia’s attractiveness as a destination for this important segment of the market.

“The ‘backpacker tax’, along with increases to visa charges, harms our appeal with international visitors and sends Australia in the wrong direction.

“Tourism is a major part of the national economy, generating $100 billion in consumption and hundreds of thousands of jobs every year.

“Backpackers make a significant contribution to the visitor economy, spending more than $4 billion and staying 46,815,000 nights in the last financial year alone.

“The last thing the major parties should be doing is curtailing Australia’s competitiveness when it comes to tourism,” she said.