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No hiding Peter Garrett's new Kakadu tax.

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Media Release The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water Thursday, 30 October 2008 No Hiding Peter Garrett’s New Kakadu Tax Peter Garrett today used the emissions trading scheme Treasury modelling ‘dump day’ to announce a tax on people visiting Kakadu National Park. It was the Coalition that removed entry fees from the iconic park to make it easier for more Australians and overseas tourists to visit. Now, on a day when Australia’s media attention is focused on the Treasury modelling for Labor’s ETS, Mr Garrett has tried to bury the announcement of his new tax. By announcing his $25 entry tax today, Mr Garrett has also avoided scrutiny over the decision at the Senate Estimates hearings of two weeks ago. The Coalition was pleased to remove the burden of entry fees at Kakadu National Park. Labor is re-introducing these fees and at a much higher cost. This new tax is bad for Territory tourism. It is tough enough attracting tourists in the midst of the global financial crisis and with high petrol prices without charging them extra to visit Kakadu. No matter how they might try to word it, this is nothing more than a tax grab by Mr Garrett and Mr Rudd. The entry fees were one of the reasons why many Territorians used to call Kakadu ‘Kakadon’t’. Perhaps this explains why Mr Garrett has exempted Territorians from the entry fees. It is a cynical move designed to buy off and placate his Labor MPs, Senators and government in the Top End. If Mr Garrett is going to start a new regime of taxes at Kakadu, he must come clean on where else he is planning new or higher taxes on Australia’s national parks. The merit of the Minister’s decision is best summed up by its introduction date - April 1. Media contact: John Deller on 0400 496 596.