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Wednesday, 12 October 2016
Page: 1663


Mr MORRISON (CookTreasurer) (09:46): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Passenger Movement Charge Amendment Bill 2016 forms part of a package of bills to implement the government's working holiday maker reform package.

This package is aimed at ensuring Australia remains an attractive destination for working holiday makers—an important source of labour for industries that rely on seasonal labour such as agriculture, hospitality and tourism.

This bill amends the Passenger Movement Charge Act 1978 to increase the rate of the passenger movement charge from $55 to $60 from 1 July 2017

This is the first time the passenger movement charges have been increased since 2012. The $5 increase is broadly in line with the increase in the consumer price index between 2012 and 2017.

In the intervening period, the government has already acted to lower the cost for travellers and to improve their visitor experience.

We have invested significantly in improving the performance of our airports and the passenger experience through our airports.

We have also established the counter-terrorism units which form an important part of our border security, all funded out of the budget—all funded without making a call on the passenger movement charge.

We have also acted on recommendations of the Financial System Inquiry regarding credit and debit card surcharges. As a result of these changes, travellers to and within Australia are no longer subject to excessive surcharging, whether booking into a hotel, booking a flight or tickets to a show—or even catching a cab.

The government is committed to budget repair. This increase to the passenger movement charge, combined with increasing the tax on working holiday makers' superannuation payments when they leave Australia is estimated to raise $365 million, fully offsetting the working holiday maker reforms and ensuring the budget is no worse off.

These measures to pay for the changes to the working holiday maker arrangements are essential to ensure the government's fiscal position and the trajectory we have committed to to bring the budget back to surplus are maintained.

You cannot go making changes to reduce the taxes paid by working holiday makers in Australia and not seek to offset that with other revenue increases through the measures that we have proposed. Failure to pass the measures that pay for these initiatives would be saying to Australian taxpayers that they should be paying for the tax reductions for working holiday makers contained in the bill—so visitors to Australia should be paying less tax and Australians, therefore, would be forced to pay more tax to subsidise that.

What we have done in this package of measures is ensure that those who are gaining the advantage of these arrangements—the sectors as well as those individuals who visit—are also the ones who will be ensuring that these measures can be funded. It is a well-rounded package of measures.

Debate adjourned.