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Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Page: 3471

Mr DEBUS (Minister for Home Affairs) (9:43 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of the bill is to amend the Passenger Movement Charge Act 1978 to increase the rate of the Passenger Movement Charge (the charge) by $9, to $47, with effect from 1 July 2008. The increase was announced by the Treasurer in the 2008-09 budget and will partially fund national aviation security initiatives that are funded by the Australian government.

Since 2001 the Australian government has spent approximately $1.2 billion implementing a significant number of aviation security measures. This spending is expected to total over $2.2 billion for commitments the government is making up until the 2011-12 financial year. Presently these costs are not recovered as part of the charge.

The $9 increase recommended by the central economic agencies has been accepted by government as broadly consistent with the amount the charge would have grown by had it been indexed over the period since it was last increased in the 2001-02 budget.

The charge, which is imposed on the departure of a person from Australia, is collected by airlines and shipping companies at the time of ticket sales and then remitted to the Commonwealth in accordance with arrangements entered into under section 10 of the Passenger Movement Charge Collection Act 1978. These arrangements are extremely beneficial to all stakeholders, not the least being the passenger whose departure from Australia is unimpeded through a seamless process which does not require the payment of taxes at Australian international airports.

It is worth remembering that this fee is collected by the airlines and the shipping companies. Because of the nature of the airline industry, where tickets for travel are sold up to 12 months in advance, this increase will only apply to tickets sold on or after 1 July 2008.

Debate (on motion by Mr Farmer) adjourned.