Federal cross-border commissioner needed to assist border businesses
Posted November 27, 2015
CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:32): At the annual general meeting of the Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce earlier this year the issue of the cost of managing cross-border anomalies was raised. In particular Chris and Nadina Bonacci operate Alpine Spirit High Country Coaches. They are based in Myrtleford and they work largely in the education market, taking students on excursions all around Australia, maybe to Canberra or to Central Australia.
They are registered in Victoria as part of the Victorian bus accreditation scheme, and they also operate in South Australia, New South Wales and the ACT. However, each state requires their own bus registration fee. Chris tells me that this cost to business includes in the ACT, $315; South Australia, $415; and Victoria, $484—all on top of the registration that he has to pay.
These examples of cross-border fees and charges impact a large percentage of my businesses, particularly those based at around Wodonga and Albury. The Master Builders Association has published a full report indicating the costs, types of licences, insurance costs and the cost that adds to their businesses. I call on the Commonwealth, in particular, to take a lead role in addressing the cost to business of cross border anomalies, and I call on them to appoint a Commonwealth cross-border commissioner to work in partnership with the New South Wales commissioner to address some of these issues.