Cruisers could soon be forced to pay a ‘green tax’

If the Government has its way, cruisers could soon be paying a ‘green tax’ on cruise fares.

Cruisers could soon be forced to pay a ‘green tax’

Cruisers could soon be paying an extra tax on their cruise fare, if the Federal Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources has its way.

The ‘green tax’ is designed to fund environmental measures, but industry lobby group Cruise Lines International Australia (CLIA) is concerned that this new biosecurity import levy will drive up costs for both operators and passengers.

As of 1 July 2019, the levy will originally target freight vessels. However, CLIA has been informed that it could be extended to the cruise industry in January.

A statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources given to Cruise Passenger today confirms that cruise ships are under consideration.

“The potential expansion of the levy to commercial vessels is one possible change the department has explored with industry to address stakeholder feedback,” reads the statement.

While a definite cost is yet to be decided, it could be determined on charges per visit and/or by gross tonnage.

cruise ship sydney harbour

According to Cruise Passenger, the levy is currently set at $10.02 per incoming twenty-foot equivalent sea container and $1 per tonne for non-containerised cargo.

So, a ship like Ovation of the Seas which weighs 168,666 tonnes could attract a levy of $168,666 at $1 a tonne. Divide that by the total number of passengers the ship can hold at capacity (4905), and it would work out to around $34.38 per passenger.

CLIA Australasia and Asia managing director Joel Katz is concerned about how the levy will affect the cruise industry, which operates with frequent port calls and often with larger vessels than other forms of shipping.

“Extending this new tax to the cruise industry has come as a complete surprise and without proper consultation,” said Mr Katz.

“There is no justification for hitting cruise lines with charges originally designed for freight.”

But, apart from the $325m the levy is expected to raise by 2020, the Government has its reasons.

“Hitchhiking pests are a significant and costly threat to Australia, and they can be found in or on the surface of vessels, not just in imported products,” said a Ministry spokesperson.

CLIA says passengers are already paying extras fees for cruising.

“Travellers are already taxed heavily through measures like the $60 Passenger Movement Charge, which is already used to fund passenger-related biosecurity activities,” said Mr Katz.

“Australia’s Passenger Movement Charge is one of the most expensive passenger taxes in the world.”

CLIA and other organisations are calling on the government to remove the ‘significantly flawed’ levy from the 2019 budget.

Do you think this levy is unfair?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    30th Mar 2019
    Lets not kid ourselves. An increase of $34 for a cruise is 7 cups of coffee and will not deter anybody from cruising. What concerns me more is that the money raised will not do one thing to improve the quality of rivers as the water is already sold to cotton and rice growers and this will likely not change. The extra money will just get added to consolidated revenue and be wasted like so much of the taxes collected.
    Australia has reached the point of being close to the highest taxed country on the planet, the exception being the top end of town with tax cuts, fraudulent but allowable offshore tax shelters and a range of reductions available to them to drive down their taxable incomes. As always average people are fair game and this tax is aimed at them.
    30th Mar 2019
    If it moves, tax it! That seems to be the mantra these days. Most probably the excuse from our Govt will be the same as when the tax on a new passport was increased by $20 recently.
    Assist. Treasurer: If you can afford to leave for overseas you can afford an extra $20. I'll take it the Govt. Ministers get theirs for zilch.
    30th Mar 2019
    Love the idea that "hitchhiking pests" are on the surface and in every vessel. (Ministry sources).
    What about the hundreds of planes and thousands of non immunised people who arrive in this country everyday. Are they not a bio-security risk?
    This is just a money grabbing exercise by a taxation led Government. The extra collections will be used to line the crooked politicians' pockets.
    Roy R
    30th Mar 2019
    Talk about getting things stuffed up. The $1.00 per tonnes is for cargo that is NOT containerised, Not the vessels displacement. Maybe the author should learn English and actually proof read their articles before submitting. Oh yeah, what happened to ty[he editor?
    31st Mar 2019
    As soon as we can afford to enjoy ourselves, they tax it.
    1st Apr 2019
    I must agree with you Mick.Australian goverment is obsessed with collecting tax.
    27th Apr 2019
    Bloody hell ... yet another way to rip off Australians. Our greedy Govt has seen another way to build up its coffers. Cruising has become popular with Australians because it's a more affordable all-inclusive (almost) holiday without breaking the bank. Not for much longer, this is just the tip of the iceberg :(

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