Superyacht legislation a real 'game-changer' for region
NEW legislation allowing foreign charter superyachts to more easily enter Australian waters is a real "game changer", according to marina owner Paul Darrouzet.
The Federal Government passed the Special Recreational Vessels Bill last week, allowing foreign charter superyachts to enter Australian waters under a temporary Coastal Trading Licence.
The Bill allows foreign vessels to apply for the special recreational licence without having to pay the duties associated with an imported vessel.
However, the GST will still have to be paid on all charters while in Australian waters.
The legislation is the culmination of years of collaboration among all levels of the marine industry.
Mr Darrouzet, who owns Coral Sea Marina Resort, said it was "fantastic news".
"It's really good that this is going to bring opportunities to the region," he said.
"We couldn't be happier, and neither could the business community in Airlie Beach - we have been talking about it for the past five years.
"Under the (previous) prohibition, boats more than 35m in length were prevented from entering about 95 per cent of the Whitsundays Plan of Management area.
"Now, they can come to Australia and pay GST on everything they consume, the same as everyone else, but they don't have the extra tax.
"It's a real game changer for our little region, which is one of the most beautiful cruising areas in the world."
David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia, welcomed the news of the legislation passing Parliament.
"We commend the Morrison Government for recognising that now is the critical time to act," he said.
"Huge events in the Pacific over the next 18 months will mean large numbers of superyachts will be in our region. The Tokyo Olympics, in July 2020, and the Americas Cup in Auckland, in 2021, are expected to bring around 160 superyachts to our region.
"The high value travellers that this will bring to regional Australia is significant."
Member for Dawson George Christensen said the Special Recreational Vessels Bill would put Australia on a level playing field with other destinations, such as Fiji and New Zealand, and allow for a supercharged injection into the economy, particularly in the Whitsundays.
"Cutting this red tape will vastly expand Australia's ability to share in tourism benefits that our Pacific neighbours have been enjoying for some time," Mr Christensen said.
"This unlocks a number of exciting trade and tourism opportunities all along the coast, particularly for the Whitsundays, and I know there were a couple of superyachts poised and waiting for this legislation to pass, so we will start to see the positive impacts of this common-sense legislation almost immediately."