Tourism industry backs push for Senate inquiry into holiday tax hike

The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has applauded the Federal Labor Opposition’s move for a Senate inquiry into the backpacker tax package including the plan to hike the Government’s holiday tax on travellers to $60 per people.

As part of the Federal Government’s backpacker tax package it announced it will apply an increased $60 holiday tax – the Passenger Movement Charge – on Australian and overseas travellers from 1 July 2017.

“Bravo to Shadow Tourism Minister Anthony Albanese and the Labor Opposition for standing up for Australia’s visitor economy and calling for industry consultation via a Senate inquiry,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.

“The Labor Opposition has recognised that the tourism industry can no longer be treated as a cash cow to prop up the budget but is a serious super-growth sector for the Australian economy that will deliver jobs and economic growth in the decades to come.

“The holiday tax hike was the sting in the tail of the compromise backpacker tax package that was announced by the Federal Government. It was included without any consultation or forewarning to the tourism industry.

“The Government’s holiday tax is already raising nearly $1 billion each year – $750 million more than it costs to provide passenger facilitation services at our international gateways. That is a 300 per cent profit straight into the Government’s coffers at the expensive of travellers.

“Millions of Australians and our international visitors scrimp and save their dollars to be able to afford a family getaway, they deserve better than a Government reaching into their travel budgets to take yet more money out of their holiday fund.

“This is not a ‘cup of coffee’ increase, it’s a $60 holiday tax on every Australian heading overseas and every international visitor coming to Australia.

“For a family of four with two children over 12 years that is $240 that will be taken out of the family holiday budget before they have even set foot on an aeroplane or cruise ship. An extra $240 in the pockets of visitors to Australia can pay for another night’s accommodation, a theme park excursion or a couple of days’ car hire – that means jobs and more spending in our visitor economy.

“Australia is a long haul destination and that means we should be aggressively cutting the cost of travel to attract more visitors to our country not driving away travellers by hiking the Federal Government’s holiday tax.

“Industry is calling on the Federal Government to reverse its decision to hike the holiday tax and instead work with industry to grow our visitor economy through positive policies that attract more visitors.

“TTF looks forward to the opportunity to contribute to a Senate inquiry to ensure that the best interests of Australia’s visitor economy are taken into account.”