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.