PMC Fury con­tin­ues

Travel Bulletin - - ISUES & TRENDS - Jayson West­bury, chief ex­ec­u­tive AFTA

As this is­sue of trav­el­bul­letin goes to press, the de­bate with the Fed­eral Govern­ment over in­creas­ing the Pas­sen­ger Move­ment Charge (PMC) by $5 to $60 per per­son con­tin­ues. AFTA, along with IATA, BARA, TTF and other bod­ies, con­tin­ues to make the case that this pro­posed in­crease is un­jus­ti­fied. There has been a sig­nif­i­cant cam­paign rag­ing in Can­berra over this is­sue and this has in­cluded a Se­nate in­quiry in which sev­eral as­so­ci­a­tions in­clud­ing AFTA ap­peared be­fore the Se­nate Eco­nom­ics Com­mit­tee to talk about why the in­crease to the PMC is in­ap­pro­pri­ate. How the travel in­dus­try ended up in the mid­dle of an at­tempt by the Fed­eral Govern­ment to in­tro­duce a new tax on back­pack­ers which is meant to raise some $220 mil­lion in ad­di­tional tax rev­enue is the $64 mil­lion ques­tion. The Trea­surer made it clear that the new back­packer tax pack­age had to “wash its own face” – or meet the rev­enue tar­get that he set. While that may be the case it is not rea­son­able that the govern­ment has looked to the PMC to sup­ple­ment its tax pack­age due to its ques­tion­able eco­nomic mod­el­ling. The travel and tourism in­dus­try fully ex­pects to pay its way, and does. But for many years it has been se­ri­ously over­charged. Taxes and charges levied on trav­ellers far ex­ceed what the Govern­ment spends to sup­port travel and tourism. The num­bers speak vol­umes. The cur­rent $55 PMC col­lects $1.03 bil­lion per an­num and it is ex­pected that the col­lec­tions will grow 5% per an­num based on in­bound and out­bound growth fore­casts. This year, the cost of pro­vid­ing bor­der man­age­ment and pas­sen­ger fa­cil­i­ta­tion at in­ter­na­tional gate­ways is around $237 mil­lion. The big ques­tion is what does the dif­fer­ence go to­wards? Def­i­nitely not pas­sen­ger fa­cil­i­ta­tion. So where does it all go? Well, con­sol­i­dated rev­enue, and what­ever else the govern­ment de­cides to do with it. It’s hardly a pas­sen­ger move­ment charge when most of it goes to un­re­lated govern­ment ex­penses. For all these rea­sons we con­tinue to make the point to the Govern­ment, Op­po­si­tion and the Se­nate that the PMC should not be in­creased un­der any cir­cum­stances as there has not been ad­e­quate jus­ti­fi­ca­tion made for the in­crease pro­posed. What AFTA and the other as­so­ci­a­tions are say­ing is that the Se­nate should not pass the in­crease to the PMC and in fact evoke a freeze on the charge for the next five years. The Se­nate should in­stead ap­prove other bills in­clud­ing su­per­an­nu­a­tion changes in which the Govern­ment would re­tain 95% of su­per con­tri­bu­tions due to work­ing hol­i­day­mak­ers from other coun­tries and move on so we can have some cer­tainty. This en­tire thing is a mess and has been han­dled poorly by the govern­ment. I hope that a rea­son­able out­come can be found and, per­haps by the time you read this, the out­come may be known.

Taxes and charges levied on trav­ellers far ex­ceed what the Govern­ment spends to sup­port travel tourism’ and

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