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Media Release
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister for the Environment

REEF CHARGE RESOLVED


16 October 1997

Users of the Great Barrier Reef will welcome the announcement today that the Federal Government has finalised arrangements for the collection of the Environment Management Charge on the Great Barrier Reef, according to Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Senator Ian Macdonald.

Senator Macdonald said that the new arrangements resulted from on-going discussions with industry and are a win-win outcome for all concerned.

"The original announcement by the Government in the 1996 budget was for an Environment Management Charge (EMC) of $6 from 1 January, 1998.

"At the request of industry this was later changed to be an EMC of $2 and a Tourist Visitor Charge (TVC) of $4.

"The charges will now be collected in the manner introduced by the previous Government, so avoiding any change in the method of collection.

"A $2 environment management charge has applied from 1 January this year and the further $2 will now commence from 1 April 1998 - a time which coincides with the tourist season and which is favoured by the tourist industry.

"The reduced overall charge will not impose an excessive burden on the industry which is at the moment working hard to maintain its international market share.

"The method of collection will not be disruptive to industry and there will be a better sharing of the costs of protecting the Reef between visitors and the taxpayers at large. The new arrangements will save the Government the costs of a new collection regime.

"The Government will be examining ways in which communication with the tourism industry in Reef matters can be made more effective.

"The Government recognises the importance of the Tourism Industry to Australia and wants to support it as much as possible in a manner which is consistent with our obligations to protect and conserve the wonderful natural heritage that is the Great Barrier Reef".

Thursday, 16 October, 1997

For more information contact Brad Robinson on (077) 713066 or 0418673600.

Commonwealth of Australia