Published on : Wednesday, June 8, 2016
The Tourism Shopping Reform Group (TSRG) has welcomed Labor’s commitment to examining options to reform the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) by introducing a streamlined claiming process if elected to Government.
The TSRG particularly welcomes Labor’s intention to base their reforms on the world class Singapore model. Under that model private providers operate in a competitive market, and deliver innovative, digital systems that dramatically streamline airport refund claim times and passenger processing.
The TRS allows a departing traveller to claim a refund of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) paid on certain goods purchased in Australia and then exported in checked luggage or carry-on bags. Australia is one of only eleven known countries with a taxpayer-funded and government-operated TRS.
“Labor’s announcement, if implemented, will have a direct positive impact on the efficiency of our international airports and move Australia’s TRS to world’s best practice,” said Margy Osmond, Co-Chair of the TSRG.
“Industry has been a vocal and strong advocate for the last 15 years on the need to innovate this important Government service to allow competition by private refund operators, thus facilitating an improved customer experience. Shopping is a key driver of Australia’s visitor economy and we are missing out on millions of dollars in economic activity through an antiquated paper-based TRS that requires every single item to be sighted by a fully trained Border Force staff member.
“The current experience for anyone trying to claim the TRS results in long queues at the airport, waiting for receipts to be processed for the refund – that is hardly the best leaving experience for an international visitor leaving Australia.
“It is a traveller’s entitlement to claim a refund on TRS eligible goods they intend to take out of the country and our analysis shows reforming the TRS will contribute an additional $226 million to the Australian economy through increased spend.
“The TRSG calls on the Liberals and Nationals to support reform of the Tourist Refund Scheme based on the Singapore model.”