TAX BREAK – GST changes a win for local boatbuilders


The Australian boatbuilding industry has welcomed the Federal Government’s change to tax rules exempting foreign buyers from paying GST on locally made boats for 12 months and leading to increased export sales. 

Previously, Australian-made boats sold to overseas buyers were liable for GST if the product was not was exported within 60 days. The tax changes were announced in Wayne Swan’s 2010 Federal Budget handed down on Tuesday night.

The Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX), the peak body for the Australian Marine Export Industry, said it has been lobbying for several years to get GST removed on boats sold to overseas buyers who wish to sail in Australian waters.

“Buyers will be able to sail new Australian-made boats in our waters for up to 12 months without paying GST on the sale price, resulting in economic benefits for Australia’s coastal regions,” said Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry.

AIMEX said the 60-day GST limit had been a huge deterrent to buyers and hindered the possible sales and growth for Australian boatbuilding companies. The marine industry, it said, provides $1.2 billion in export revenue and is a huge employer.

According to its research, AIMEX said that of nine companies directly canvassed said they have lost more than $40 million in export sales due to the restriction.

“It is of great relief that the treasury have recognised the need for this rule change. Once applied, boatbuilders, the industry and nation will reap rewards in return,” said AIMEX CEO MaryAnne Edwards.

The removal of the GST barrier, applicable from June 2011, will give boatbuilders the break they have been looking for in these trying economic times, AIMEX said.

Photo: Richard Ward, managing director of Australia’s largest sailboat builder Seawind Catamarans, is also an AIMEX director and one of the driving forces in the new GST ruling.