Cutting tax will lower Spirit fares

A CARBON tax surcharge should never have been added to Spirit of Tasmania fares, according to the state's peak tourism body.

Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding announced on Sunday that the scrapping of the tax would see a $3 decrease on TT-Line passenger fares and $6 on vehicles, an amount the state opposition described as ``an absolute joke''.

However, Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said it could be the point of difference for a family coming by air or sea.

``For a family, you're talking more than $30 a return trip, it's not an unreasonable amount,'' Mr Martin said.

``If it was that much taken off a flight we'd be popping champagne corks,'' he said.

Mr Martin said any price drop on the Spirit of Tasmania should be encouraged.

``If it was $3 across the board it wouldn't be worthy of being discussed, but in its entirety if the majority of people will see a $20-30 surcharge taken off fares that can only be an encouraging thing,'' he said.

Mr Martin said a carbon tax surcharge should never have been added to Spirit of Tasmania fees.

``There was no surcharge put on toll ways anywhere on the mainland,'' he said.

``We got charged a surcharge that no one else did around the country''.

The state government has a policy to reduce Spirit of Tasmania fares by 20 per cent, and Mr Martin said he hopes to see further competitive pricing, and a car gap fee removed.

The government is waiting on a business plan from TT-Line, the operators of the Spirit of Tasmania ferries, for a clearer picture of how savings could occur.

``When it comes to the Spirit what we know is that it's a very price sensitive market,'' Mr Martin said.

``People like the idea of coming by the Spirit, but it's that price competition with air,'' he said.

Mr Hidding said he expected a huge rise in passengers over the next four years.


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