Government to introduce recreational boating tax?

IN the lead up to the release of the federal budget next month, it has been rumoured that federal treasurer Joe Hockey is set to drop a bombshell by unleashing a tax on Australia’s recreational boaters – for using their vessels on public waters.

News of the controversial tax proposal comes as the Coalition Government begins to rally Australians to “dig deep” in a bid to lift the country out of a worsening economy Hockey says is the legacy of the former Labor Government.

“This is a bloody outrage,” said Paul Fullovet, spokesman for the Sydney Recreational Boater’s Group. We get charged to park at boat ramps, pay registration and licence fees for boating and fishing and now this. What’s next, a tax on breathing?”

Opposition leader Bill Shorten was also quick to jump on the government’s new tax proposal.

“For so long we’ve heard the Coalition banging on about ‘stopping the boats’, but I don’t think Australians thought this was what they actually meant. This is the most ridiculous tax proposal I’ve ever heard. I guess the former Gillard/Rudd governments will get the blame for the need for this crazy tax as well?”

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was unavailable for comment but a source told Fisho the minister is expected to fully support the tax proposal.

“Morrison is keen to keep people off boats, so I can’t see him opposing this one,” the source told Fisho.

While Prime Minister Tony Abbott is yet to discuss the boating tax proposal publicly, it is believed several members of his cabinet are against the controversial proposal. Amongst those opposed is Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who is reportedly a keen barefoot water skier and PWC rider.

Another, disgruntled upon hearing of the tax is Senator George Brandis. Upon hearing of the proposal, sources close to the Attorney General revealed his nickname of “Barra” Brandis, due to Brandis’s apparent fondness for lure fishing in the wilds of the Northern Territory.

“I can’t see how this will possibly go ahead,” said a spokesman for North Sydney Yak Fishers.

“Will it be a blanket tax for everybody or will it be per boat, or in our case, kayak? It’s the dumbest idea… What, are they gonna install pay stations way up a creek somewhere before you get on the water?”

Joe Hockey has told the ABC that Australia’s growth in expenditure, set up under the previous Labor government, is like a “tsunami coming across the water”.

A similar tsunami in the form of an on-water protest by Australia’s millions of rec boaters may also now be imminent.

Fisho will follow this controversial story for any further developments prior to next month’s federal budget. Stay tuned.



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