What Is the “Passenger Movement Charge”, and Is It Going to Ruin Your Plans?


It’s about to get that much more expensive to travel from Australia, thanks to an announcement in the Federal Budget on Tuesday, May 9. The government announced it would be upping its Passenger Movement (PMC) from $60 to $70 from July 2024, which would up its revenue by $1.3 billion.

The PMC was introduced in July 1995, replaced the Departure Tax, and is administered by the Department of Home Affairs. Collected under the Passenger Movement Charge Collection Act 1978, it was initially $10 and now sits at $60, one of the highest departure taxes from a developed nation.

Sustainable travel
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While the PMC is paid by our airlines, it’s recovered from passengers as part of the fare or, in the case of free or points tickets, a special charge. The PMC is the cost for the departure of a person from Australia for another country, whether or not the person returns to Australia.

Those who are exempt from the charge include kids under 12 years old, aircraft crew, and travellers who are in transit and aren’t undergoing customs and immigration processing in Australia.

The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) CEO, Margy Osmond, stated that the move would make it harder for the industry to bounce back from existing cost of living pressures and the devastating impacts of the COVID pandemic.

“It will also make it more expensive for international tourists to come to Australia, at a time when we’re desperately trying to attract more visitors,” Osmond said. “The government also needs to be more transparent about how the money collected through the PMC is spent, explaining where exactly it’s allocated given the average rate of overcollection.”

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) CEO, Dean Long, also called the increase “extremely disappointing”, adding that it’ll make it harder for Australian families to stay connected.

“In the three years prior to the pandemic, the PMC collected on average $811 million more than needed to fund the biosecurity requirements to keep the community and agriculture sector pest-free,” Long said.

“The Government is now demanding an additional $200m for next year which is unwarranted and not appropriate, especially in the current environment.”

The AFTA is also reporting the increase in the “tourist tax” will cost the industry an extra $520 million over five years.

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