GST slug sinks charter hopes
THEY say that if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford one.
But foreign super yacht owners are shying away from Australian waters due to the 10 per cent GST imposed by the federal government on the value of their boats – heading instead to Fiji and New Zealand.
“The reality is if a foreignflagged superyacht wants to come to Australia to charter, its owners have to fully import the vessel and they have to pay 10 per cent of the value of the boat,” says AIMEX and Superyacht Australia chief executive MaryAnne Edwards.
Superyacht Australia chairman Barry Jenkins puts it more simply: “If you have a $100 million superyacht when it comes here, you have to fork out $10m to government.”
The first economic impact study into the value of the nation’s superyacht industry found the sector was worth $1.97 billion in gross domestic product in the 2016 financial year, according to the AEC Group economic impact statement.
But the industry is being held back by restrictive policies, which if relaxed could contribute a total of $3.4bn a year and almost double local jobs to 24,400 within five years, according to AIMEX and the AEC Group.
Superyachts also contribute to the tourism and retail industry, with foreign guests spending an estimated $15,000$25,000 a day before and after their cruises, including an average $7500 on jewellery, clothes, food and drinks, according to AEC.
Maintenance of super yachts, defined in Australia as any private vessel of more than 84 feet in length, contributed $400m in gross product last year, while transport and warehousing of superyachts adds another $77m a year. Accommodation and food for crews contributes another $50m in gross product.
“If the government fixes our legislation, so foreign superyachts have freedom to charter here, like they do in New Zealand, our local superyacht industry would grow substantially – we could see an extra 8100 local jobs making a total of 24,400 jobs by 2021,” Ms Edwards said.
“We are seeking standalone legislation to relax regulations in the superyacht sector.”
Sydney, southeast Queensland and Cairns would earn the most if the government changed the legislation, AIMEX said
Superyachts at the Reef Marina, Port Douglas