Industry buoyed by tax climbdown

Industry buoyed by tax climbdown
By admin

A new era of tourism industry collaboration is being heralded after a key element of the departure tax bill was dropped last night by the Government following intense lobbying by industry groups.

While an $8 increase to the Passenger Movement Charge is almost certain to be approved – as was always likely to be the case – the indexing of the tax to the rate of inflation, which would have seen the PMC increase annually, will no longer appear on the bill.

In a second win for the industry, the Greens have also demanded the industry receive an additional $40 million from the PMC as a condition on them voting in favour of the increase.

The climbdown on the indexing prevented what would have been an embarrassing defeat in Parliament for the Gillard regime.

Jayson Westbury, chief executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, said the capitulation demonstrated what can be achieved when the industry unites and is “on message”.

“We have demonstrated to both the Government and opposition that we have the capacity to run a serious and effective campaign that can change the direction of a particular issue,” he told Travel Today.

The campaign and lobbying was spearheaded by the Tourism and Transport Forum in association with AFTA and other industry bodies.

The Australian Tourism Export Council managing director Felicia Mariani said the industry had “dodged a bullet”.

“This decision was a direct result of a coordinated and sustained campaign against this indexation that finally went beyond the halls of Canberra,” she said. “Industry’s objection to this latest grab for cash was vocal, public and solid in its commitment by all industry associations.

“Hopefully this process for collaboration can become a successful blueprint for how this industry can work together to achieve real outcomes in future.”

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