Tourism Council protests Working Visa fee increase

In Western Australia

The Tourism Council of WA has attacked the Federal Government for increasing working visa fees by 35 per cent, saying it will hurt WA tourism, particularly in the regions.

As part of the Commonwealth’s mini-budget the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has revealed that the fee will increase from $280 to $350.

The council’s, Evan Hall says the effect will be particularly felt by backpackers.

“These visitors, like backpackers, are the cornerstone of tourism into regional Western Australia,” he said.

“We are an expensive destination and we are becoming more expensive because of these tax rises and it is really going to hurt Mum and Dad tourism operators in regional WA.”

Mr Hall says the move will discourage many backpackers from coming to WA.

“It is absolutely the worst time for the Government to putting up the cost of coming into Australia through higher visa charges, higher passenger movement charges,” he said.

“They are turning our airports into tax gates and everyone who has been coming through, they’ve been sticking out their hand and grabbing some money.”

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