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Transport for NSW to tax Boaters Extra Millions

The boating sector is calling on the Minister for Transport to intervene and ask Transport for NSW to abandon its surprise plan to tax the boating public extra millions of dollars during a cost-of-living crisis.

Transport for NSW’s move to increase a wide range of boating fees from 1 July will deliver a windfall for the department in extra revenue according to the Boating Industry Association Ltd (BIA).

BIA spokesperson Neil Patchett says there are concerns about the way that Transport is claiming that these increases will only be modest for the majority and that they are necessary to fund the departments work in safety.

“Transport for NSW already charges the highest fees in the nation for people to go recreational boating,” he said. “Claims increases are mostly no more than $35 masks the fact that, as an example, a 3-year general boat driver licence will go up by 19 percent. This is more than triple what the CPI figure should be and some of the fee increases go as high as 88 per cent”.

“Compounding the concern is the lack of appropriate consultation. For the first time in more than 20 years, Transport for NSW has gone against its own policy which is to adjust fees in line with CPI (5.89%). The new fees will result in 10s of millions of dollars in extra revenue from the boating public, made up of every-day Australian families trying to make ends meet in a cost-of-living crises.”

When considering the above example, BIA notes that if the current number of boaters in NSW took up a 3-year General boat and PWC licence, revenue from these licences alone would climb to $53 million a year. These are just two fee items on a schedule of 13 fees changed to waterways users.

“The Boating Industry Association is the peak body which represents hundreds of small businesses across New South Wales. There are significant concerns coming from industry and public about the ramifications that these record-breaking fee increases will have on businesses and boating. The potential that people will be pushed out of leisure boating is very real. If families are priced out of this form of recreation, it will put jobs at risk across the boating sector.”

The industry employs more than 30,000 people in Australia with a substantial number in NSW.

Ethan, an apprentice marine mechanic employed at a marine business in North-West Sydney says: “I love being a marine mechanic and it is actually quite hard to get an apprenticeship in this area. If there is a downturn in the sales of boats and jetskis because of the higher fees, then there will be fewer opportunities for boat shops to employ apprentices like me.”

Additional information available on the fees issue here.