Industry experts are continuing to fight a proposal to increase the Passenger Movement Charge (PMC) by 17% from July 1.
While departing Australian passengers are currently required to pay a $47 levy, a bill to up the fee to $55 has been put forward in the 2012-13 Federal Budget.
If the bill is passed, the levy will swell by 17%. It will also see the charge indexed to inflation, meaning the PMC could rise to almost $70 by 2020.
With the strong Australian dollar already deterring some international visitors, Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) chief executive John Lee fears the tax hike will further soften inbound arrivals.
“With the strong dollar and continuing uncertainty in the global economy, adding yet another cost to travelling to Australia makes no sense,” he said. “Given our increasing reliance on visitors from our near neighbours, raising the price of admission will be counter-productive.”
Lee stressed that Australia’s PMC levies were already disproportionate to the UK and Europe, and added that a $55 charge would see Australia’s PMC become the “highest in the developed world for short haul economy flights”.
While hopes of halting the bill at this stage are considered unlikely, industry bodies including Tourism Australia and the Australian Airports Association, remain hopeful they can prevent the indexing of the charge. The bill will go to a final vote on June 18.
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