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Govt MP worried about departure tax rise

AAP logoAAP 17/10/2016

A government backbencher fears the coalition's $5 rise to the international departure tax could be the first of many increases.

While on balance it is only small, Nationals MP George Christensen said he was worried the proposed $60 charge might be viewed in the future as a "cash cow the government can continue to raise and raise" like the tobacco excise.

"We're doing it, the Labor party have done it in the past," he told parliament on Monday.

"I think that trying to treat that charge like an ATM to fund spending because it can just be raised higher and higher, then trying to justify it by claiming people who travel internationally are rich, is beyond the pale actually."

He says he will be keeping an eye on the change, which passed the lower house on Monday, to see if it has a detrimental effect on the tourism industry.

"And I'll be taking that issue up with the relevant ministers," Mr Christensen said.

The government said the increase, slated to start on July 1, 2017, would help ensure the budget bottom line remains intact following changes to the so-called backpackers tax.

The move has infuriated the tourism sector.

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