The Levy would be:
- imposed on all containerised and non-containerised cargo imported to Australia by sea, with the exception of military equipment.
- imposed on stevedores.
- set at $10.02 per incoming twenty-foot equivalent sea container and $1 per tonne for non-containerised cargo.
- 1% of the current cost of importing a container to Australia.
The Levy would contribute to onshore surveillance, diagnostic, data analytics, research and adoption of new technology to help us to detect, identify and respond to exotic pest and diseases earlier and ensure we can move people and goods into Australia safely and more efficiently,
...the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources said.
In response, CLIA joined with other shipping and business organisations in opposing the planned Biosecurity Imports Levy:
Extending this new tax to the cruise industry has come as a complete surprise and without proper consultation. There is no justification for hitting cruise lines with charges originally designed for freight,
...said CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz.
Mr Katz said the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources had indicated the Biosecurity Imports Levy would raise up to $120 million a year in revenue and could be applied to cruise ships upon each arrival into Australia on a gross tonnage basis.
He said this would disproportionately impact the cruise industry, which operates with more frequent port calls and often larger vessels than other forms of shipping.
Travelers are already taxed heavily through measures like the $60 Passenger Movement Charge, which is already used to fund passenger-related biosecurity activities. Australia’s Passenger Movement Charge is one of the most expensive passenger taxes in the world. Including the cruise industry in a tax designed for cargo movement just adds another back-door tax on tourism,
...Mr Katz said.
CLIA has called on the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, to rule out any additional levy on cruising and has sought the support of the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham.
The cruise sector already complies with all Australian and international biosecurity requirements at the highest level, and passengers already contribute to the cost of enforcement through measures like the Passenger Movement Charge. The costs for cruise lines operating in Australia are among the highest in the world, and any new charge will further disadvantage our industry at a time when it is facing significant infrastructure constraints and cost escalation,
...Mr Katz said.