The Australia Aviation Associations Forum, which represents a number of local industry bodies, has condemned the move by the federal government to increase taxation on aviation fuel, which it says could cost the industry in excess of $20 million per year.
“The surprise announcement of a 25 per cent increase in fuel tax in the budget has perplexed an industry that is committed to safety but which must keep a close control on any additional costs,” said Chris Manning, the independent chair of the Forum.
“The alarm of the industry is due to the fact this new tax came without any consultation, negotiation or government understanding of the potential impact on operators, particularly regional and smaller aviation companies.”
The federal government increased the excise on aviation fuel from July 1 as part of a measure to fund additional aviation safety inspectors and capabilities for CASA. While not opposing the additional inspectors, the Forum indicated that there was inequality in that the cost would be borne by the domestic aviation sector while some of the activities proposed by CASA will go towards surveillance of international operators.
“The Forum feels very strongly that any increase in taxation for CASA should be preceded by a stronger efficiency drive within CASA,” said Manning. “Industry personnel at the coal face working with CASA daily identify more efficient and less costly means of CASA delivering the same or improved services, but government has no framework to work with industry on improved efficiency.”