Coalition plans carbon tax cut to decrease flight costs
ABOLISHING the carbon tax to reduce domestic flight costs, increasing customs staff to get visitors into the country quicker and upgrading Australia's roads are the first steps the Federal Shadow Tourism Minister would make if his government takes office in September.
Bob Baldwin said Tourism Accommodation Australia had conducted research demonstrating that the carbon tax also would cost the accommodation industry almost $115 million in just its first year and reduce profitability by up to 12%.
"The carbon tax has forced holiday makers to pay more for their flights, with the nation's major airlines being forced to increase fares to cover the cost," he told more than 100 Queensland tourism industry representatives in a post-budget address on Friday morning.
"Abolishing the carbon tax will also reduce the cost of travelling on Australia's iconic ferries.
"For example, the carbon tax has increased the cost of travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania ferries by $3 a passenger per journey and $6 a passenger vehicle per journey."
Mr Baldwin, speaking at a Queensland Tourism Industry Council breakfast, said the Coalition would also look the passenger movement charge which had reached record highs when, he argued, funding for customs to perform passenger facilitation functions was cut.
He said almost 1.4 million visitors were spending more than 30 minutes in a queue waiting to be processed when they arrived in Australia.
Mr Baldwin said the Coalition would begin work, inside 12 months, on the Gateway Motorway upgrade in Brisbane as well as parts of the Bruce Hway.
He said the infrastructure investments would include Melbourne's East-West Link, Sydney's WestConnex, Adelaide's South Road, Tasmania's Midland highway and key roads in Perth.
Mr Baldwin, who came from the tourism industry before his life in politics, said creating a more attractive environment for visitors and ensuring people with multiple language skills were looking after the people spending money in Australia.
He said the experience they had, and the word of the mouth feedback when they returned to their home countries, made all the difference.
But Mr Baldwin said it was also about encouraging domestic tourism and the grey nomad market in rural and regional areas.
Gone are the days where families pack the station wagon and head to the same camping spot each year, Mr Baldwin said.
"Today's tourist wants different experiences each and very time," he said.
That means the "coast talking to the hinterland" and vice versa instead of seeing each other as competition, he said.
"There are so many Australians who are passionate about showing off our country to the world and they deserve a federal tourism minister who shares their passion," he said.