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Australians slam federal government’s hidden holiday tax

More than 80 percent of voters say Australia’s hidden $1 billion holiday tax should be slashed or invested directly into the tourism industry to support economic growth and more jobs rather than fill the
government’s coffers, according to a survey commissioned by the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF).

The survey of more than 1,000 Australians reveals that more than 85 percent of Australians are unaware that they are paying a $55 Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) every time they leave Australia on an international flight or cruise.

The hidden tax is charged on more than 20 million Australians and international visitors traveling overseas through our airports and seaports every year. Estimated to raise close to $1 billion in revenue in the next financial year, only $250 million is actually spent on processing passengers, with the remaining $750 million is going straight into the government’s coffers.

‘The Passenger Movement Charge is a hidden holiday tax on every Australian and overseas visitor traveling through our international gateways and does nothing to support the growth of the industry and creation of more jobs,” said TTF CEO Margy Osmond.

“Tourism has been identified as a super-growth sector of the future but the hidden holiday tax continues to be a handbrake on the industry expected to raise $1 billion from travellers in the next financial year.”

Nearly 40 percent of voters said political parties must outline their plans for the holiday tax during the election campaign. A bipartisan three-year freeze on the charge will end after the election and TTF is calling for all parties to commit to continuing the freeze for the next term of Parliament.

‘’Political parties cannot run dead on this issue during the election campaign – they must spell out their plans for this hidden holiday tax on travellers. This is their chance to announce they will continue to freeze the PMC at the current rate and commit to reducing the cost of this hidden tax over the longer term,” Ms Osmond said.

More than a third of people (36.4 per cent) said political parties should commit to reducing the cost of travelling to and from Australia, while a quarter (25.1 per cent) said they would support a political party that commits to not increasing the PMC.

Only 13 percent of voters said the government should be allowed to spend the PMC revenue however it saw fit.

Rosie Clarke

Rosie Clarke is managing editor at Multimedia Publishing.

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