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Australia does not charge for visitor visas says Immigration Minister



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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (06) 277 7860 Facsimile: (06) 273 4144

MPS 44/96

AUSTRALIA DOES NOT CHARGE FOR VISITOR VISAS SAYS IMMIGRATION MINISTER

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, today emphasised that Australia did NOT charge for visitor's visas.

Mr Ruddock also said reports in today's media implying that under the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) the Government would charge for visitor visas were wrong.

"The Federal Government does not charge and is not planning to charge for visitor visas," the Minister said. "I can't make our position any clearer than that."

Mr Ruddock said he was amazed that while one of Australia's biggest tourist markets accepted the ETA as offering real benefits to US travellers, the Tourism Council of Australia couldn't see the advantages. *

"Because of the ETA the United States has extended its visa waiver arrangements to Australia," the Minister said. 'The Tourism Council's Bruce Baird however seems to be doing his best to undermine what is a major achievement in facilitating travel between the two countries."

Mr Ruddock said the ETA will replace the current visa procedures which require a written application and a visa label in a travellers passport. The ETA will be issued within seconds by computer links between the Immigration Department and tens of thousands of travel agents and airlines around the world.

CANBERRA 2 August 1996

Media Inquiries Steve Ingram 0419 278 715 (06) 2777 860