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Federal budget slammed

Brisbane City

The Australian accommodation industry and federal opposition have expressed concerns over the effect on tourism from this year’s budget.

Speaking exclusively to HM, Shadow Tourism Minister Bob Baldwin said the budget “doesn’t deliver”.

“Budget 2013 delivers more debt, more deficits, more taxes, more broken promises and more uncertainty from an incompetent Labor Government that can’t be trusted,” he said.

“Like so many of Labor’s promises, the Gillard Government has broken their 2010 election commitment to spend AUD$10 million annually, and AUD$40 million in total, on the TQUAL Grants Program.

“Tourism operators couldn’t trust what Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan promised last year and this year is no different,” Baldwin said.

The Accommodation Association of Australia’s CEO Richard Munro also has concerns with the budget.

“A major challenge confronting both the Federal Government and the accommodation industry is that revenue is not keeping pace with costs,” he said.

“Company profits are reportedly down for five consecutive years which translates to lower revenue from taxation.

“Given that labour costs are the largest expense for employers in our industry, the Fair Work Commission must take this into consideration as part of its review of the minimum wage.

“Initiatives in the Budget which will benefit the accommodation industry include the increase in the Asia Marketing Fund, provision for TQUAL and TIRF grants, funding for hosting the 2015 Cricket World Cup and funding for apprenticeship programs.

“The industry is concerned that the increase in 457 visa costs could result in even lower availability of labour than already exists,” Munro said.

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