Great Barrier Reef tourism operators, businesses and individuals with a permit to operate in the marine park will continue to receive relief from Commonwealth Government fees under this year’s federal budget.
The Morrison Government is delivering more than $12 million of fee relief to Reef communities, helping to deliver a stronger economy and future for the businesses and people that rely on Reef tourism for their livelihoods.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the government was committed to protecting the Reef, supplementing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s budget, enabling it to continue to waive fees and taxes for Reef-based industries from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
“We know Reef communities have been doing it tough, and while it is great to see tourists coming back to visit the region, we also know that it will take some time for businesses to fully recover,” Ms Ley said.
“This investment is on top of our recently announced $1 billion Reef Protection Package, which includes a $15 million initiative to help re-establish the tourism industry in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
“It is critical that we continue to support this important industry to get back on its feet following two years of very challenging economic conditions.”
Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the tourism industry was a major contributor to the economy and lifestyle of Far North Queensland.
“Under normal circumstances, the Great Barrier Reef supports 64,000 jobs and generates some $6.4 billion each year through sustainably managed industries, mostly through the tourism industry,” Mr Entsch said.
“The Reef tourism industry helps showcase the wonders of this World Heritage Area to people from all over the world, and works with the Reef Authority to protect popular and ecologically-important Reef sites.”
Federal Dawson MP George Christensen welcomed the announcement.
“The Great Barrier Reef is part of who we are, and it is also a vital part of the local economy, employing thousands of people and supporting countless businesses,” Mr Christensen said.
“We want employers in Dawson and in other parts of Far North Queensland to focus on the recovery of their businesses and this commitment from the Morrison Government will ensure they can do that.”
The Morrison Government has supplemented the Reef Authority budget to allow for the waiving of fees and taxes for Reef-based industries from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2022.