GST slug sinks char­ter hopes

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Lisa Allen

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

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Su­pery­achts at the Reef Ma­rina, Port Dou­glas

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