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Aussie Divers Outraged Over Recreational Dive Tax Scheme; 'The Government is Killing Tourism'

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ULLADULLA, Australia -- Recreational divers' peas have been ignored with the State Government set to introduce a recreational dive tax.

Ulladulla Diving Adventure Centre owner and keen diver Steve Williams said he thought the idea of the tax had disappeared.

"We heard nothing about it for a while and then up it comes again," Steve said.

"It is ridiculous and unfair to impose tax on someone using the ocean for recreational purposes.

"Where will this tax end?

"What is the difference between a scuba diver and someone snorkelling, and then between a snorkeller and a surfer, and from a surfer to a swimmer – it is outrageous.

"Scuba divers are swimmers with an airtank – surfers carry a surfboard into the water –are they next?

"Recreational divers do not take anything from the ocean, how can you rightfully tax them for enjoying underwater sport without disturbing anything?

"It is unfortunate for any tourists who would like to learn to dive to see if they like it – and they have to pay a $30 tax for the entire year to try it once.

"On top of their hire gear and lesson, this is just too much.

"Dive tours actually help the government.

"We spend our days educating people on not damaging or destroying the environment.

"We teach people to use the ocean responsibly – we are helping the government out and this is how the thank us.

"The government is killing tourism," he said.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance labelled the recreational dive tax a disgrace.

"It seems the only eco-tourism plan that State Labor Government has for the Shoalhaven is the introduction of a $30 tax on recreational diving," Mr Constance said.

"The only plan Labor have is to tax people out of existence.

"This is an unfair and unreasonable tax, supposedly introduced to fund research into the grey nurse shark, however most divers will question the government's true motives.

"This tax is simply another grab for cash by this financially inept government.

"What next? Taxing beach goers and surfers!

"No wonder residents of New South Wales are leaving the state in their droves."

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