The Federal Budget is a missed opportunity to provide substantial support for Victoria’s visitor economy, as the $1 billion transport infrastructure funding for Victoria will not be implemented for several years.
The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is deeply concerned about the hike in visa application fees and the new levy on businesses using the temporary skill shortage visas, and believes this will reduce our competitiveness as a destination on the world stage.
Victoria Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Brad Ostermeyer said; “This increase to visa fees will make it harder for Australia to attract international visitors. It is already very expensive to travel to Australia from overseas, and now it will be even more costly for international visitors to come here. This will have a negative effect on our competitiveness as a tourism destination.”
It is estimated that the new levy will cost businesses between $1,200 to $1,800 per visa for each employee on a temporary visa, and $3,000 to $5,000 for each permanent migrant. This comes on top of the recent changes to the 457 visa class, which impact many businesses in the tourism sector.
“Our visitor economy is not getting the support it needs to meet its growth potential. This is limiting job creation, particularly in regional areas. The tourism sector is the key to Australia’s transition from a resources-led economy, to a services-led economy – it must be prioritised if it is to succeed.”
“A large proportion of tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises. Changes to the 457 visa mean that some businesses will no longer be able to access essential skilled labour from overseas; and the new budget measures mean that those who are able to access foreign workers are now facing substantial costs for doing so.”
VTIC welcomes the Federal Government’s investments in Victorian transport infrastructure, which include:
VTIC has long advocated for an airport rail link and in its State Budget Submission highlighted the need for urgent maintenance works on the Great Ocean Road, as well as calling for significant investment in regional tourism infrastructure, particularly along the Shipwreck Coast.