News & Publications
Ports North implements a Community Relations and Engagement Program designed to build broader industry, community, media awareness and support for Ports North and its associated activities.
In particular, Ports North seeks to ensure key stakeholders, including the general community, understand and support Ports North’s role as a leader in economic growth in Far North Queensland.
Below is a media announcement issued today by the Deputy Premier. Ports North is currently working through the implementation details for the relief package and will contact the relevant port customers when these are finalised.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad
Palaszczuk Government backs tourism jobs at Cairns marina
Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad has announced a $3.67 million fee relief package for operators at the Cairns Marina, as part of ongoing government measures to help the Far North deal with the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19.
Ms Trad made the announcement at a meeting with key tourism industry stakeholders in Cairns today.
“The Cairns Marina is a vital hub for inbound tourism operators in Far North Queensland,” Ms Trad said.
“Whether it’s reef charter vessels or land-side services, marina operators support hundreds of jobs in Cairns.
“Everyone I’ve listened to here today has reinforced how tough things are for tourism operators after what we now know as COVID-19 struck in January.
“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government has worked with Ports North to provide temporary rebates to its tourism and commercial operators as immediate and ongoing relief to help them sustain jobs while we work to contain COVID19.
“Under our jobs protection plan, commercial and reef operators will enjoy a 100% rebate on their Ports North marina fees at the Cairns Marlin marina and a 100% rebate to utilise the Green Island jetty.”
The Port’s retail, food and beverage commercial leasehold tenants throughout the city will receive a 100% rebate on their base rent.
Ports North has also committed to freeze the Cairns Marlin Marina Schedule of Charges for commercial operators until January 2023.
The $3 million marina fees relief package comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk met representatives from Cairns tourism bodies and the aviation industry last week to hear their concerns first-hand and follows Tourism Minister Kate Jones’ announcement a million-dollar package of Cairns marketing campaigns would be fast-tracked.
The Deputy Premier also announced a $660,000 package of relief measures to assist commercial fishers affected by COVID-19.
“The impact of COVID-19 was felt particularly strongly around Chinese New Year, which is normally a huge export opportunity for Queensland seafood,” Ms Trad said.
“So we’re waiving quota fees for rock lobster and coral trout for the first six months of 2020, along with fishing boat fees for these and other fisheries affected by COVID-19, such as mud crabs.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the decision was a timely and common-sense way to help the industry.
“We know tourism is a hugely important employer across regional Queensland but especially in Cairns and the Far North,” Mr Healy said.
“The proof of that has been that Cairns recording the strongest employment growth in the state based on the latest figures.
“Our government listens to locals and is acting to protect Cairns jobs through this period.
“Thankfully, the almost completed $127 million Cairns Shipping Development project will soon see major cruise ships berthing right in the heart of Cairns - creating 2000 jobs in the process.
“This announcement will help operators with the immediate pain, while they look to new opportunities tied to the prospect of more cruise ships coming to town.”
The temporary fee relief package will run for six months, backdated to February 1 2020, when the Chinese travel ban began.
Media Contact: Geoff Breusch 0417 272 875
Port of Cairns delivers to Mt Emerald wind farm
Over the past three months Ports North has visually captured the spectacular sight of the Mount Emerald wind far components arriving at the Port of Cairns. The unloading, storage and transportation of huge turbines and 57m blades has proved to be a highly successful operation. Watch our video below::
Global Tourism Hub (GTH) - Month in Review
Ports Australia Fact Sheet
Biosecurity Imports Levy
The biosecurity imports levy was proposed in the 2018-19 Budget and is to take effect, through new legislation, from 1 July 2019:
• The import levy will be applied to all imports at $10/container (empty or full) and
• $1/tonne on non-containerised, which will directly impact cost of trade.
• No rationale is provided for the levy amounts (vs $2, $5 or any other dollar figure) in the Budget measure.
• The levy is applied to every import including fuels, cars, clinker, pharmaceuticals, white goods, heavy machinery, etc and irrespective of their biosecurity risk.
• The levy is ongoing and the Government estimates to raise $115 million a year. Discussions with effected industries suggest the figure is potentially much higher.
• The levy is not capped. As the nation grows so will revenue from the levy.
• Monies raised from the levy will go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund and not directly into a Biosecurity fund or any biosecurity measures.
• To be enacted the proposed levy will require new legislation.
• The Department has advised that it will receive the levy from a yet to be determined domestic industry sector, but has indicated this will either be stevedores or ports.
• The Department has advised that it will seek payment “on a quarterly basis” from the domestic industry sector.
• The Department has advised that it is not in favour of placing the levy on the importer that is creating the biosecurity risk.
• There was no consultation by Government with industry prior to the announcement of the levy in the Budget.
• The levy was recommended in the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity Review (run by an independent expert panel), undertaken in 2016.
• Ports Australia, at the time, did not support the review’s recommendation and advised of the detrimental impacts to industry and the economy. No further engagement with industry transpired.
• During current industry consultations the Department advised that it will only act as the tax receiver and that the domestic industry sector acting as the Government’s ‘agent’ will need to manage how it recoups relevant costs incurred by the administration of the levy.
• The Department has advised that it will be drafting legislation shortly and will engage with stakeholders accordingly.
• The Government currently has mechanisms in place to recover costs from importers, e.g. border processing charges and duties applied to imported goods, which we believe should be utilised to collect the biosecurity levy.
• The independent review conducted in 2016 recommended one such Government mechanism as an alternative solution (Full Imports Declaration).
• The Department is not supportive of this proposal primarily because it does not account for:
- empty containers. [This accounts for less than 1% of imports or potential forgone revenue of $0.4 million.
- low value goods – valued under $1000. [These goods are predominately moved by air transport.
• The Government is the only body at the import gates across the country with readily accessible information on all imports, through its Customs and Quarantine arms.
• The Department has rejected the proposal that Australian Government Authorities, i.e. Border Force or Customs collect the levy directly through the import process.
• Ports Australia is currently liaising with various stakeholders including stevedores, parliamentarians, Shipping Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Farmers Federation and the Cement Industry Federation, to raise awareness of the biosecurity levy and discuss relevant issues.
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