Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

TONY Ab­bott’s as­sured to the na­tion on elec­tion night was that Aus­tralia was ‘‘now open for busi­ness’’. Within a few days of the Coali­tion’s elec­tion to power this news­pa­per re­ceived a press re­lease from Bob Bald­win MP, whose port­fo­lios were both of in­ter­est to our part of the world -- he was Shadow Min­is­ter for Re­gional De­vel­op­ment and Shadow Min­is­ter for Tourism. He was at pains to point out that the new govern­ment would be pro-tourism in­dus­try and one of the first items on its hit list was the Pas­sen­ger Move­ment Charge.

Do­ing some­thing about this per­ni­cious lit­tle rev­enue raiser af­flict­ing the tourism in­dus­try is a worth­while thing in­deed. Like tax­ing cig­a­rettes, bump­ing up the im­posts on this part of the tourism in­dus­try is very easy to do. Af­ter all, you in­flict the pain on mere tourists, many of whom do not get to vote at the next elec­tion, and you make the in­dus­try col­lect the loot for you.

But al­though we are now of­fi­cially open for busi­ness again, it seems that’s only some of us. Poor old tourism has hit a hur­dle right at the out­set of Mr Ab­bott’s nam­ing of the cain­bet, be­cause as a port­fo­lio in its own right it just doesn’t ex­ist. A glance at his new min­istries re­veals the tourism in­dus­try might fall un­der the aegis of about four dif­fer­ent min­is­ters. As to when some­one, any­one might bump the pas­sen­ger tax, who knows? We don’t even know who to ask.

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