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Thomson can't find his towel while tourism teeters

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.1 :7 2 - 4A1 AUST ' ALIA

Hon Stephen Martin MP

Federal Member for Cunningham Shadow Minister for Small Business and Customs Shadow Minister for Sport and Tourism 10 March 1998


The Shadow Minister for Tourism, the Hon Stephen Martin today gave notice in the Australian Parliament to disallow the latest attack on Queensland tourism and jobs — the infamous reef tax.

"From 1 January 1998 the cost for every trip to the Great Barrier Reef was increased by 100 per cent to $2.00. Labor moved on 6 March 1997 to have the first tranche of the reef tax disallowed. The Howard Government, including the Members for Leichhardt, Herbert, Capricorn, Dawson and Hinkler, voted against the motion.

"If the latest round of regulations are passed, the cost of the reef tax will be doubled to $4.00. Labor has given notice that it wants the latest impost overturned.

"At a time when Cairns has experienced a 10.7 per cent drop in international passenger arrivals, when small business and tourism in North Queensland are reeling from the Howard Government's refusal to recognise the depth of the problem, and, when the Tourism Minister ha

stated there is no problem, this decision is staggering," Mr Martin said.

"Tourist numbers from our Asian neighbours are falling alarmingly (Korea —26.3%, Thailand -42.8%), yet the Government continuing to provide disincentives which will keep 0 tourists away from North Queensland. The combination of a 300% increased reef tax, a $3 increase in the departure tax and the threat of a 10% GST continue to provide disincentives which may mean Australia will no longer be a price attractive destination.

"The overwhelming evidence suggests tourism in Queensland is suffering because the Howard 13-1 Government refuses to put a reassurance package in place as called for by the Tourism Council

of Australia.

"While Minister Thomson anonymously sneaks around backpacker hostels and claims the tourism industry is prosperous because he couldn't get a towel for his shower, jobs are being lost," Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin called on the Members for Leichhardt, Herbert, Capricorn, Dawson and Hinkler (the Gang of Five) to support the reef tax disallowance motion and vote for their constituents to protect Tourism jobs.

Contact: Cassandra Gelade 02 6277 4363 or 0411 691 495

Electorate 83-85 Railway Street CORRIMAL NSW 2518 Ph: (02) 42 83 4111 Fax: (02) 42 85 1132 Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600 Ph: (02) 6277 4363 Fax: (02) 6277 8596