Industry representatives in Australia are pushing for the government to relax its charter legislation after new research revealed tax regulations make luxury yacht charters in the country unappealing.
The study was undertaken to assess both the current and potential economic contribution of the superyacht industry. The first of its kind, the review was commissioned by the Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX), with the support of the Queensland government.
Results show the superyacht industry in Australia is a high value niche sector, which contributed a total of $1.97 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) in the 2016 financial year.
However, the study also found the industry is held back by restrictive policy which, if relaxed, could contribute an additional estimated $1.2 billion through yacht charters – directly and indirectly – over the next four years.
According to AIMEX, tax regulations are to blame. Firstly a superyacht must be fully imported and, secondly, the owner must pay a 10-percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the yacht’s value.
In comparison, New Zealand offers exemptions for temporary import fees for foreign-flagged luxury charter yachts, as well as assessing a 15-percent GST on the charter rate, not the yacht value.
With this in mind, the group is calling on the government to fix legislation, so foreign superyachts have the freedom to charter in Australia like they do in neighbouring country New Zealand.
AIMEX is now seeking standalone legislation to relax regulations in the superyacht sector. After the devastation of Cyclone Debbie, a change is more important than ever to allow superyachts to cruise in the Whitsunday Islands, to help local businesses.
Situated off the Queensland Coast, the Whitsundays are made up of 74 idyllic islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. A private yacht charter in this region offers no-end of diving and snorkelling opportunities, some of the world’s best beaches, both national park and resort islands, and watersports.
Yacht charters, especially day charters, are also popular in Sydney, as they allow guests to take in the glittering cityscape from the comfort of a luxury yacht. Melbourne and the rugged region of Kimberley also make brilliant cruising destinations.
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