The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA), a non-partisan grassroots advocacy body representing the interests of Australian taxpayers, today condemned the NSW Labor and Byron Bay Labor councilors' proposal for a new ‘bed tax’ on travellers in New South Wales. The tax will inflict undue burden on tourists and visitors, will hurt Byron Bay’s visitor and tourism economy and sets a disturbing precedent for the rest of NSW.
“Most visitors to Byron Bay and other NSW tourist spots are families. Families are already struggling to make ends meet with rising costs of living and inflation.” said Satyajeet Marar, Director of Policy at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. “But the proposed tax increase is not just unfair, it is also short-sighted. The visitor and tourist economy employs 5000 of Byron Bay’s 14,000 people and the move puts these workers and the small businesses who employ them at serious risk.
“Visitors already pay over $4 million in parking fees and contribute over $500,000 through ticket levies on music festivals while driving Byron Bay’s economy by patronising local establishments, paying more than their fair share. Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Festival alone have created more than 195 Full-time jobs at a time when rural and regional economies have been shrinking nationwide.
“That a bed tax is necessary to pay for roads and infrastructure is also false. Byron shire already plans to hike council rates on both residents and visitors by 33.5% over 4 years and continues to benefit from high revenues due to rising property values, with a 19% rise last year alone. Tourists and businesses also shouldn’t have to pay even more for the council’s strategic failure to approve holiday and apartment developments which would have substantially broadened its rate base.
“Labor’s new tax is anti-business, anti-jobs and calls for a substantial collection and accounting bureaucracy. It sends the message that tourists aren’t as welcome at Byron Bay as they used to be. Bad policy like this is likely to see visitors moving on to other destinations and will kill any chance NSW Labor has of returning to government.
Satyajeet Marar, Director of Policy, Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, email@example.com