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Queensland Government extends fee relief for Cairns reef operators

Queensland Government extends fee relief for Cairns reef operators
March 17, 2021

The Queensland Government has extended financial support for Cairns tourism businesses. Reef fleet operators at the Cairns Marlin Marina have received fee relief since February 2020, with the latest extension pushing that support out to mid-2022.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said continuing rebates until mid-2022 would amount to more than $10 million in financial assistance provided to reef fleet operators and port tenants since the pandemic began.

Premier Palaszczuk notes “Sectors of our economy are faring extremely well thanks to our strong health response but without international visitors, Queensland’s tourist industry will continue to need support.

“More than 800,000 overseas visitors contributed more than $1 billion to the Far North economy before international borders shut due to COVID-19.

“With the Prime Minister set to cut off JobKeeper on March 28, things won’t get any easier. Tourism operators in the Far North need all the help they can get right now.

“This fee relief will put cash back into the pockets of tourism operators doing it tough – helping to safeguard the jobs of workers in this industry.

“My government remains focused on supporting jobs and helping Queensland’s tourism industry rebuild.

“Whether that’s through the travel voucher initiative we announced last week, or by continuing to provide fee relief, we’re ready to support the industry through this prolonged downturn.”

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said since February 2020, tour boat operators have had to pay nothing to berth at Cairns Marlin Marina thanks to the State Government.

Minister Bailey highlights “Reef fleet operators were among the first businesses to be hit when international visitors began cancelling their bookings early last year.

“They will also be among the last businesses to see a return of the international customers they rely on.”

Minister Bailey said rebates for the berths and check-in counters used by reef fleet operators at Cairns Marina will be extended until the end of June 2022 and adds “The 100% rebate that’s been in place since last year will continue until 30th June 2021.

“From 1st July this year to 30th June 2022, Ports North will move to a rebate model based on overall passengers using the Marlin marina compared to pre-COVID passenger numbers.

“The existing 50% passenger charge rebate will remain until 30th June 2021, before being progressively phased out by December 2021.”

Minister Bailey said Ports North also remained committed to freezing the Cairns Marlin Marina Schedule of Charges for commercial operators until January 2023.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the extension of fee relief for tourist boat operators was a no-brainer noting “I’ve lobbied for this extension for several months and given the expectation that international travel is unlikely to resume in any significant capacity until 2022, we’ll continue to stand by Cairns tourism businesses and the local workforce.

“People are doing it tough here so we need to do everything we can to drive domestic tourism while international borders stay closed.

“The voucher plan announced by the Palaszczuk Government will help us to grow our domestic visitor base into the future and continuing fee relief gives local operators more certainty around their financial situation for the year ahead.

“There’s still a long way to go but I know from the people I speak to, that every little of assistance we can give helps.”

Image of Cairns Marlin Marina courtesy of



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2nd February 2021 - Queensland Acting Premier calls for JobKeeper extension to support tourism industry

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