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Tuesday, 22 May 2001
Page: 26789

Mr Fitzgibbon asked the Minister for Sport and Tourism, upon notice, on 6 March 2001:

(1) Of the 425 900 overseas visitors in Australia during January 2001, what percentage claimed back the GST incurred on purchases.

(2) Has she received any complaints from international tourists on the logistical problems involved with claiming back GST on goods purchased in Australia; if so, how many.

(3) What, if any, advice is given by her to tourists making these complaints.

(4) Was she consulted in the Government's process of drawing up the guidelines on the GST-rebate for overseas visitors to Australia; if so, what input did she or her Department provide.

(5) Has her attention been drawn to the arrangements the Canadian Government has in place for overseas visitors to have their GST reimbursed.

(6) What public educational measures has she and her Department undertaken to ensure overseas visitors to Australia are aware of the Government's GST reimbursement process.

(7) Do the current arrangements for GST reimbursement for overseas visitors to Australia make it virtually impossible to obtain a refund and constitute a very unfriendly and unhelpful way to treat visitors.

(8) Are the current arrangements a deterrent to overseas visitors and a way to ensure as little of the Government's revenue is returned as possible.

Miss Jackie Kelly (Minister for Sport and Tourism) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The information requested by the honourable member concerns the Tourist Refund Scheme which is administered by the Australian Customs Service. The Department of Industry, Science and Resources does not gather information on the percentage of GST claimed back on purchases.

(2) Yes. One.

(3) The complaint has been referred to the Australian Customs Service which administers the Tourist Refund Scheme and to the Treasurer who oversights the policy aspects of the Scheme.

(4) Yes. The input was in the nature of confidential policy advice to the Minister.

(5) Yes.

(6) The Australian Customs Service has prime responsibility for promoting the Tourist Refund Scheme on behalf of the Government. The Australian Tourist Commission plays a supporting role in the delivery of the communications strategy by helping in the distribution of pamphlets and other literature through its international offices.

(7) No.

(8) No.