Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) has welcomed a move by the Federal Government to ramp up Australia's push as a foreign investment destination by dedicating more than $50 million towards promotional activities in key markets, in today’s federal budget.
The activities aim to attract investment in tourism, agribusiness and food, resources and energy, infrastructure, services, manufacturing and technology. The funding will enable the expansion of existing promotional activities, such as the Australia Week event held annually in China, United States, India and at the ASEAN conference.
A Free Trade Agreement online dashboard will also be established to assist Victorian businesses engaged in international trade.
VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith said the ongoing investment in key markets such as China and India was important to maintain the inbound visitation momentum that has been generated.
“Business investment is an important driver for both business and leisure travel. The funding provided in the federal budget will help strengthen and grow business ties between Australia and these large Asian markets, and our tourism industry will certainly benefit from this,” said Ms Smith.
The open skies policy allowing Asian airlines to fly to key tourist hubs such as Broome and Cairns will also help boost inbound travel to those regions and have flow-on benefit for Victoria.
The announced funding for the National Stronger Regions Fund will support the construction of new, and upgrade of existing, tourism-related infrastructure throughout Victoria.
Also welcome was the announcement that incorporated small businesses with an annual turnover of $2 million or less will receive a 1.5 per cent corporate tax rate cut. To ensure support is available for all small businesses, unincorporated small businesses (with annual turnover of less than $2 million) will be eligible for a 5 per cent tax discount up to $1,000 a year.
Small businesses will also be eligible for a new accelerated depreciation policy, allowing them to write off up to $10,000 in a year.
In addition, from July 2016, business start-ups will be able to immediately deduct professional costs associated with starting a business rather than writing them off over five years. Start-ups will also save time and money during registration, as the current fragmented process will be streamlined through a single online registration site.
“There are 73,000 tourism-related businesses in Victoria, and the majority of these are small businesses,” said Ms Smith.
“These measures to ease the cost of doing business and encourage investment will contribute to the growth and sustainability of our industry.
“Tourism has been identified as a growth sector at both state and national levels, and it is pleasing to see this, and our jobs potential, recognised and supported in the budget.”