The Government today commenced debate on the Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives.
The Bill increases the rate of the Passenger Movement Charge from $47 to $55. This is the first increase to the Passenger Movement Charge since 2008. The $8 increase announced in the Budget is a modest increase, which represents less than ½ per cent on a typical international airfare.
The increase is the same amount the previous government increased the charge by in 2001.
The Government will not proceed with the planned annual indexation of the rate of the Passenger Movement Charge to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and will instead continue the current practice of periodic increases.
The proposed increase will raise $485 million over the forward estimates.
Of the revenue raised, $48.5 million over four years will be allocated to a new Asia Marketing Fund. The fund will support the promotion of Australia to growing markets in Asia and is intended to encourage investment by the private sector, and State and Territory Governments.
By the end of the decade there will be 100 million Chinese international travellers every year. This fund will help us make sure that we get as much of that market as we can.
In addition, a further $48.5 million over four years will be provided to a new Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund, which will support tourism industry development projects in regional Australia, through grants of up to $250,000. The new Fund will support projects that align with Tourism 2020, help attract tourists to regional areas and encourage them to stay for longer. The Fund will target projects with community benefits which also stimulate private sector investment. Project funding will be matched by successful applicants on a dollar for dollar basis.
A new Panel will be established composed of representatives with a regional focus from each State and Territory Tourism Organisation to provide oversight of the fund and advice on opportunities in tourism and related industries, with input from the Tourism Research Advisory Board.
The Fund will open its doors for business later this year. Examples of the types of projects that could be funded include artworks and sculptures along walking trails, extensions and refurbishments of hotels, motels, caravan parks and other accommodation facilities, construction of camping sites, construction of exhibits in wildlife and nature parks and local museums and feasibility studies into new tourism facilities.
The Fund will play an important role in supporting investment, job creation and sustainable growth in our regions.
This package provides strong support for Australian tourism while supporting the Government’s fiscal objectives and returning the budget to surplus.
We welcome the constructive approach taken by the regional independents, Mr Tony Windsor MP and Mr Rob Oakeshott MP, and the Australian Greens to reach this outcome.