Tourism force grows against PMC

Tourism force grows against PMC
By admin

The tourism industry has used a Travel Today interview with tourism minister Martin Ferguson to help argue its case against increasing the Passenger Movement Charge as Qantas and the International Air Transport Association joined the fight to stop the proposed hike.

Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney Airports, Tourism NT, the Accommodation Association of Australia and the Australian Airports Association also lodged submissions with the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, all objecting to the $8 rise.

Speaking to Travel Today in Shanghai last week, Ferguson defended the increase and claimed the industry had been well looked after over the past 12 months. It had benefitted from the seasonal workers program, a budget for catering training and the extension of holiday visa programs.

Appearing before the Committee, Tourism and Transport Forum managing director John Lee referred to the comments and branded them “administrative changes which come at little or no cost to government and have made little or no difference to tourism business”.

As reported by Travel Today on Friday, Lee also rejected comments by Ferguson that the PMC was “nowhere near as high” as departure taxes in the UK and Europe.

Qantas, meanwhile, told the Committee in a written submission that the tax was already a disproportionate and unnecessary burden.

“The timing of this increase is particularly unfortunate at a time when the Australian dollar is at an all time high, having a material impact on the attractiveness of Australia as a destination,” Qantas Head of Government and Policy, Euan Robertson wrote.

Qantas also said customs, immigration and quarantine should be paid for by “consolidated revenue and not through a user pays charge”.

Furthermore the $61 million Asia marketing fund should come from “broader government revenue”, the carrier said.

The International Air Tranpsort Association argued aviation security should be paid for by “general revenues” and not lumped on airlines and passengers. The PMC increase will cost 2,600 tourism jobs in the calendar year following the rise, IATA added.

However, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism insisted the rise is unlikely to have any major impact on tourism despite admitting it was “high by global standards”.

The indexing of the PMC will also provide “certainty and reliability” regarding future increases, the Department said.

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