Mayor Tate puts hand out for Visitor Tax

GOLD Coast Mayor Tom Tate has bravely written to the State Local Government Minister, asking him to allow for a Visitor Tax.

If the bold initiative to improve the city’s tourism infrastructure gets the green light, locals could benefit from lower annual rates and charges.

Prompted by feedback in a citywide survey, Mayor Tate has asked David Crisafulli MP for a “fair share’’ approach to how the city’s tourism infrastructure is funded.


“The equation is simple. Ratepayers today pay their rates which in part, helps fund significant tourism infrastructure across the city,” Cr Tate said.

“So in effect, ratepayers today are paying a tourism infrastructure levy of sort, although it isn’t specifically detailed on rate notices,” he explained.

“I want to see a fairer system that will keep downward pressure on rates for residents and, at the same time, ensure the industries and operators that benefit from greater city tourism infrastructure pay their fair share.’’

Mayor Tate said the city had around 27,000 tourism related properties including shopping centres, hotels, airport, tourist rentals and motels.

“Council attracts around $15 million per annum from the tourism component of the City’s differential general rate. We then hand around $12 million of this straight to Gold Coast Tourism to promote the city. That means almost all of the $15 million goes into tourism promotion rather than building and maintaining tourism infrastructure and services.”

“That is unfair on general ratepayers who see their rates money largely used to fund new tourism infrastructure and to provide services for our 30,000 (average) visitors a day.”

Mayor Tate said a room-based levy should be considered to raise revenue specifically from tourist accommodation activities.

The levy would be calculated to take into account occupancy, average room rate, and the number of rooms available for short-term accommodation.

“The final cost to an accommodation operator turning over millions of dollars annually from strong tourism bookings may only be a very small percentage of their gross income but it could go directly towards further tourism infrastructure.”

Mayor Tate said a final decision on any room-style levy would require full Council support.