Visa change to open door

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

NEW leg­is­la­tion ap­proved by Fed­eral Par­lia­ment will make it quicker and eas­ier for Chi­nese na­tion­als to come to Aus­tralia for leisure and for busi­ness.

North­ern based Govern­ment Se­na­tor Ian Macdon­ald said the an­nounce­ment that the Lib­eral Na­tional Govern­ment made last year in the North­ern Aus­tralia White Pa­per was for an ini­tial trial of the 10-year visa in a pi­lot pro­gram for Chi­nese na­tion­als, who were seen as the emerg­ing group of trav­ellers seek­ing eas­ier and more fre­quent ac­cess into North­ern Aus­tralia.

“Un­der the aus­pices of this Bill, the trial will com­mence in De­cem­ber 2017.

Fig­ures pro­vided by Tourism Re­search Aus­tralia in 2015 in­di­cate that around 90 per cent of vis­i­tors to North­ern Aus­tralia are do­mes­tic tourists. The re­cent in­tro­duc­tion of di­rect flights into North­ern Aus­tralia from a num­ber of Asian cities has, how­ever, cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­pan­sion of in­ter­na­tional tourist num­bers into the north.

“The Chi­nese mid­dle class is ex­pand­ing and is highly mo­trans­lates bile and will­ing to travel.

Se­na­tor Macdon­ald said that it will not just be North­ern tourism, but also the na­tional tourism sec­tor, val­ued at around $120 bil­lion a year, that will ben­e­fit from the pro­vi­sions of the Bill. Mak­ing it eas­ier for peo­ple travel into the coun­try to to more ho­tel nights, more lo­cal tours, more din­ners in res­tau­rants and more money be­ing spent in the shops.

“The pro­vi­sions of this bill are a boon for North­ern Aus­tralia, for the na­tional econ­omy, and for our re­gional po­si­tion­ing as a trad­ing part­ner to emerg­ing Asian economies,” said Se­na­tor Macdon­ald.

The Se­nate Le­gal and Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs Leg­is­la­tion Com­mit­tee, chaired by Se­na­tor Macdon­ald to­day tabled its re­port into the Mi­gra­tion Amend­ment (Visa Re­val­i­da­tion and Other Mea­sures) Bill 2016.

The re­port, which rec­om­mends that the Bill be passed, ac­knowl­edges the eco­nomic ben­e­fits that will be de­liv­ered through the in­tro­duc­tion of the Bill’s pro­vi­sions.

“One of the three key pro­vi­sions in the Bill is the in­tro­duc­tion of a ten-year visa – a visa that re­mains in force over a decade al­low­ing for re­peat vis­its to Aus­tralia with­out hav­ing to re-ap­ply to the De­part­ment of Im­mi­gra­tions and Border Pro­tec­tion.

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Chi­nese tourists at Wangetti.

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