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Time to talk about all tourism taxes.

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Senator Aden Ridgeway Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats Tourism Spokesperson February 5 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/041

Time to Talk About All Tourism Taxes The Australian Democrats are supporting tourism industry calls for the immediate cessation of the $10 ticket levy on airport departures from Australia.

Democrats’ Tourism spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway, has called on the Federal Government to clarify how long it intends to retain the levy and whether the tourism industry will receive any surplus revenue that has been collected.

“The Democrats initially supported the levy as the only option put forward by the Government to guarantee Ansett Australia employees their entitlements after the airline’s collapse,” said Senator Ridgeway.

“Now, as it appears likely those entitlements will be guaranteed under the imminent sale of the airline, we call on the Prime Minister or John Anderson to clearly state their future plans for this levy - something they were unable to do upon its introduction.”

Senator Ridgeway said the Australian Democrats would only support a continuation of the levy if the funds went directly into the tourism industry to assist in the international promotion of Australia in key international markets.

"Since the 2000 Olympics, the tourism industry and the Democrats have lobbied the Government to boost its support for the industry and primarily to increase funding for the Australian Tourist Commission.(ATC),” he said.

“Post-September 11 and the Ansett collapse, it is critical Australia acts now to rebuild international visitor arrivals and the ATC is the most appropriate organisation to do this.

“Further ambiguity about the levy and the allocation of resulting funds only adds to the uncertainty and anxiety the industry is feeling after losing nearly $1 billion as a result of S11 and the Ansett collapse.

“Indeed, the latest Retail Trade Figures show a continuing decline in hospitality and services while other retail areas reported strong growth,” said Senator Ridgeway

The Democrats plan to discuss with the Government the establishment of a Senate Inquiry into the extensive taxation measures applied to the tourism and hospitality industries with a view to establishing a fairer and more sustainable taxation regime

The future of the air passenger ticket levy is one of the matters that must be addressed by such an Inquiry.

Media Information: Liz Willis 02 6277 3855 0414 876 152