JUNE 2023 ISSUE
A DECISION to raise the tax on people leaving Australia has been described as “disappointing” and an “unfair blow” by senior travel industry officials.
The $10 hike in the Passenger Movement Charge was unveiled by Treasurer Jim Chalmers in his 2023 Federal Budget.
The move will see $1.3 billion generated for government coffers in 2024/25, with only $420 million spent on the same system. The change is due to come into effect on July 1, 2024.
“Today’s decision to increase the PMC by 16 per cent is extremely disappointing and will make it harder for Australian families to stay connected,” said Dean Long, CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents.
“We know that the PMC does reduce air capacity to Australia and with supply of air seats still tracking 30 per cent to pre-COVID levels, this will slow down our recovery.
“In the three years prior to the pandemic, the PMC collected on average $811 million more than needed to fund the biosecurity requirements to keep the community and agriculture sector pest free.
“The Government is now demanding an additional $200m for next year which is unwarranted and not appropriate especially in the current environment.”
Mr Long’s comments were supported by Joel Katz, CLIA Australasia Managing Director, who said the increased PMC was an unreasonable added cost when the travel community was working hard to support the recovery of cruising.
“Australia already charges international travellers some of the highest fees in the world and this only makes things worse.
“This is yet another cost for Australian cruise fans and overseas visitors, creating a disincentive that affects countless Australian businesses like travel agents, tour operators and industry suppliers.”
Writing exclusively for Traveltalk, Don Beattie, CEO of MTA Travel, said the increase would be a burden for budget-conscious families.
“It would appear that the thinking is that it’s only a $10 increase and if people can afford to travel, then it isn’t much of a cost.
“The reality though is this will now be a $70 per person cost and for a family of four, that means they will be charged $280 just for them to leave the country for their well-earned holiday.
“The total cost to travel today is already substantially higher than before COVID and with everyone struggling to meet the ever-increasing day-to-day cost of living, it is bound to continue to negatively affect consumer confidence.”