Monday, November 28, 2011

Hunter Valley Audience May Have to Pay "Road Tax"

AN audacious attempt to charge thousands of concert-goers a road levy in the Hunter Valley has been labelled a "tax on fun" by a tourism group.

With two Elton John concerts this weekend at the Hope Estate attracting 34,000 people, Cessnock Council is considering plans to charge ticket-holders a road tax to visit the region.
A report before Cessnock Council has earmarked as "high priority" the need to cash in on the huge number of visitors that now travel there for the popular concerts, so it can afford to improve the shocking state of the roads in the area.

The report states that "a mechanism be investigated for collecting a levy/contribution from events to fund community infrastructure, tourism development and marketing".
Charging the promoter a lump sum of $50,000, which would then be passed on to the ticket-holder as a $3 add-on, for example, is one option being considered.

The council's own legal advice last week found the levy to be legally challenging in the short term, but other ideas include asking each concert venue to make a lump-sum payment to council, or forcing every business to pay an extra levy as part of their rates.
"This idea is absolutely appalling, it's just a tax on fun," Tourism Transport Forum CEO John Lee said.

"What you have is a council that has reaped the benefit of having a vineyard on their doorstep for decades, and now they want to tax people for having fun."


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