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Treasurer takes up fight for Superyacht Industry

Treasurer takes up fight for Superyacht Industry

September 2, 2016

Treasurer Curtis Pitt has written to the Turnbull Government seeking a review of the charter restrictions the Commonwealth places on superyachts entering Australia, fearing that restrictive regulations have become a barrier for the industry’s growth.

“This is a boom industry for Queensland but Federal Government restrictions are holding us back,” Mr Pitt said.

“Australia is losing out on millions of dollars in direct economic benefit as a result of Federal redtape, charges and restrictions.

“It appears these restrictions actually causing foreign superyachts to overlook Australia and visit other countries in the Asia-Pacific region instead.

“The fact is countries like New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu offer superyachts more flexible chartering arrangements.

“I’ve written to the Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo calling for urgent action.”

Queensland currently attracts the majority of all foreign superyachts visiting Australia, lured by the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and availability of major supply and repair facilities in centres along our east coast.

“Evidence shows that just one foreign superyacht can spend $2.5 million in a 12-month period, which would have considerable flow-on benefits for local tourism, hospitality and manufacturing sectors for areas right along the Queensland coast,” Mr Pitt said.

“We expect that a relaxation of the current charter restrictions on foreign superyachts would see a significant increase in visitor numbers, which of course would benefit Queensland and Australia by supporting jobs including in regional areas.

“I’m sure Minister Ciobo, as a Member from the Gold Coast, understands the urgent need for a review and I expect that he will be keen to drive the outcomes that Queensland is pushing for.

“A relaxation of regulatory restrictions for superyachts was included in the Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 that was rejected by the Senate – however this bill was predominantly concerned with commercial shipping and reducing employee safeguards in that sector.

“Given the economic benefits Australia can obtain by relaxing regulatory restrictions for superyachts, these matters should be addressed in a standalone bill.”

Superyacht Australia has repeatedly raised issues relating to foreign flagged vessels not being able to charter in Australia unless owners fully import the vessel, which incurs significant administrative costs including import duties.

“The Palaszczuk Government recognises both the importance and potential of the superyacht industry to Queensland and recently provided $20,000 funding to help undertake an Economic Impact Study to assess the sector’s economic contribution,” Mr Pitt said.

“That EIS will also identify the value-add directly attributable to the operation of superyachts, as well as identify future potential economic opportunities provided by the growing global superyacht market and inform government policy to support these opportunities.

“I hope the Federal Government will review the restrictions it places on foreign superyachts visiting Australia and I look forward to working with the Turnbull Government to grow the future of this lucrative industry.”