Tourism industry slams airport departure tax increase
15/06/2012 - Tourism industry heavyweights have slammed the Gillard government's decision to increase the airport departure tax, saying it will cost thousands of regional jobs. Toby Mann
Heads of the Tourism and Transport forum, the Australian Tourism Export Council and Tourism Accommodation Australia have savaged the government's plan to increase departure tax by 17 per cent, up to $55 per person.
They said the increased tax, coupled with the expected cost increases stemming from the carbon tax, would affect the livelihood of tourism operators.
Tourism and Transport forum chief John Lee told reporters in Sydney the tax would add, on average, $320 to the cost of a family travelling to Australia.
If more tourists are spooked away from coming to Australia, he said there would be a devastating knock-on effect to the rest of the economy, particularly in regional Australia.
"We estimate that if these trends continue, we'll have over 10,000 jobs lost in regional Australia within 12 months," he said on Thursday.
"If this was a car manufacturing plant in Altona, I wonder if they would have allowed that to close?"
Members of the tourism industry have took out full-page ads in Thursday's major papers, accusing Ms Gillard of injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into the steel and automotive industries while hampering tourism.
Prime Minister Gillard rejected the claims.
"Right across the economy we are working to protect jobs," she told the Seven Network.
"Some industries are under pressure because of our high Aussie dollar, tourism amongst them, and we will keep working with the tourism industry to see what we can do."
The economics committee will report on the departure tax increase to the house of representatives on June 18, and Lee has called on MPs to stand up for tourism operators in their electorates.
"We'll be looking very closely to see those members of parliament who have tourism as a major provider in their electorate whether they're going to vote to tax and kill jobs...or they'll vote down these taxes," he said.
Australian Tourism Export Council director Felicia Mariani echoed Lee's sentiments.
"These decisions to increase the passenger movement charge will absolutely affect the livelihood of these tourism operators," she said.
"We should put a sign up at the airports saying 'Welcome to Australia. Conditions, fees and charges apply'."
Television networks say the promotion of gambling odds during live sports...
The accommodation industry is enthusiastic about the pro-business pledges...
The Queensland Court of Appeal decision to allow a motel's appeal against a...
The Fair Work Ombudsman has commenced legal action against a Central...
SkyCity Entertainment Group has agreed to buy Queenstown's Wharf Casino for...