Following the announcement that the Special Recreational Vessels Bill 2019 had been introduced to parliament, SuperyachtNews can now report that the bill has been passed and that Australia is officially open for foreign flagged vessels to charter. The legislation will allow superyachts use of a coastal trading temporary licence, thereby enabling commercial charter activities.

Vessels will be protected from importation and be required to pay 10 per cent Goods and Services Tax on the value of the charter. This legislation comes into effect almost immediately, whilst work to amend the Coastal Trading Act to cater for superyachts in the long term continues to be progressed.

“We have been working tirelessly to achieve this for many years for industry. The ability to charter in Australia now supplements charter in New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji and Papua New Guinea where superyacht charter is already permitted and reinforces the South Pacific as a destination of choice for superyachts,” comments David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia.

Changes to the Coastal Trading Act had gone to parliament in 2015 and again in 2018, but to no avail. Over the coming years there are a number of high-profile sporting events taking part in the Pacific region including the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and the America’s Cup in Auckland in 2021. In order to ensure that Australia can take advantage of around 160 superyachts that are expected to visit the region during this period, the Australian government introduced legislation separating superyachts from previous areas of dispute where coastal cargo operations were concerned. This enabled bipartisan support for the passage of the legislation in near record time, with the legislation being finalised on the last day of parliament for the years.  

The passing of this legislation opens the door for many more UHNWIs and crew to visit Australia on board superyachts. As well as boasting one of the seven wonders of the worlds, The Great Barrier Reef, Australia boasts unique natural beauty. Superyacht Australia has been working closely with Tourism Australia to showcase what the country can offer superyachts. With the lay consensus suggesting that superyachts spend around 10 per cent of their value annually on provisioning, operation and maintenance, Australia believes that the passing of the regulation will unlock an estimated 11,800 jobs and $1.64 billion to the Australian economy.

“The Great Barrier Reef, The Kimberley’s and Ningaloo Reef, the wilderness of Tasmania and the hustle of Sydney Harbour are all best enjoyed from the water. Superyacht chartering is really one of the best ways to experience what Australia has to offer,” comments Good. “We look forward to welcoming a huge increase in superyachts to Australia and invite guests and crew to stay longer and enjoy the Australian experience.”

That being said, Australia is looking to become more than a destination of choice. With a number of high-profile infrastructure developments either completed or in progress, Australia hopes to become the Asia-Pacific’s superyacht servicing hub of excellence. For more information on the various infrastructure developments in Australia, be sure to get your copy of The Pacific Superyacht Report or, alternatively, register for SuperyachtNews Premium.


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