“Bed tax” not to be taken lying down

VISITOR LEVY

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Any visitor levy or “bed tax” will need to be thoroughly analysed before any action is taken, according to Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr.

“There is a case for this, it cannot be ruled out, but it needs to be considered, discussed and there needs to be consultation,” he said.

This follows a statement today by the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) who said that Queensland councils are not campaigning for a state wide visitor levy or “bed tax”.

LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam said the LGAQ policy executive had in February voted to support Cairns Mayor Bob Manning’s bid to for a law change to allow his council to implement a visitor levy.

But Mr Hallam claimed there was no move for such a levy to be extended beyond Cairns.

“Councils are very mindful of the current environment and the challenges for their communities and businesses – particularly those in tourism areas,” he said.

But Mayor Kerr said the shire had not been surveyed on this issue, no one had requested his opinion; but stressed that if any levy was in place, the revenue would need to go back into tourism. He said he believes this is something that needs to be further discussed.

Hallam, meanwhile, said there is no widespread support among Queensland councils to introduce a bed tax across the state. The only proposal on the table is for a visitor levy proposed by Cairns Regional Council that would be levied on visitors, not local business.

“I wrote to the Premier and senior ministers in February to convey the LGAQ Policy Executive’s support for the Cairns Regional Council proposal to amend the Local Government Act to allow CRC to charge and collect a visitor levy.

“Mayor Manning, who is a member of the LGAQ policy executive, has been in talks with his community, local tourism industry and the State Government regarding his proposal for some time and requested the support of the policy executive.

“The support given by the LGAQ policy executive was specific to the Cairns proposal as the letter to the Premier clearly conveyed,” he said.


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