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Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson makes another hypocritical statement.

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Mr Steven Ciobo MP Shadow Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors, Tourism and the Arts

Comments by Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson slamming the British Government’s extra tax on flights to Australia are hypocritical and a slap in the face of Australian tourism operators, Shadow Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo said.

“I find Martin Ferguson’s bagging of Britain’s extra tourism tax completely hypocritical, when back in the May Budget, the Minister announced almost $1 billion in extra tourism taxes, which have put pressure on Australian tourism operators,” Mr Ciobo said.

“At a time when the tourism industry was feeling the pinch from high fuel prices and a slowdown in tourist numbers, the Rudd Labor Government increased the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) by 24 per cent from $38 and $47, which the industry indicated would hurt domestic tourism.

“Back in Opposition, Martin Ferguson stood in the Parliament and said an increase in the Passenger Movement Charge would be like “ripping off the travelling public”. When the decision isn’t on his shoulders, words flow easy for Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson.

“He’s happy to comment on the PMC in Opposition, he’s happy to have a go at the British Government, but when the ball is in his court, Martin Ferguson raises Australian tourism taxes by nearly $1 billion within 6 months of taking on the role as Minister.

“How is the Australian tourism industry expected to take the Tourism Minister seriously when he says one thing and does another? He says he is concerned about the new British tourism tax, with no consideration at all about the taxes he has slapped on tourism in Australia.

“Martin Ferguson has a long history of being hypocritical when it comes to making decisions and statements affecting tourism.

“In 2003, he told the Australian people “the tourism industry does not deserve to be hit by unnecessary taxes” which is completely opposite what he stands for. Martin Ferguson needs to start making decisions that assist our tourism operators. He needs a short-term plan for tourism, not extra taxes and charges.”