Australian parliament passes The Special Recreational Vessels Bill 2019 to allow foreign owned superyachts to charter in Australia

Changes to the Coastal Trading Act had gone to parliament in 2015 and again in 2018, but to no avail, however on November 27th the Special Recreational Vessels Bill 2019 was passed by Australian parliament. This means that foreign flagged vessels will be able to charter in Australia. This new legislation will allow superyachts to be granted a coastal trading temporary license, therefore enabling commercial charter activities.

Vessels will be protected from importation and be required to pay 10% Goods and Services Tax on the value of the charter. This will be effective almost immediately as it is estimated to be in place by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, progress on a long-term plan for superyachts continues as superyacht Australia work to amend the Coastal Trading Act.

“We have been working tirelessly to achieve this for many years for the industry. The ability to charter in Australia now supplements charter in New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji and Papua New Guinea where superyacht charter is already permitted and reinforces the South Pacific as a destination of choice for superyachts.

These changes will also benefit the local superyacht charter market. Regions that have a high level of charter activity receive increased international marketing exposure which then encourages further investment in locally based vessels, infrastructure and repair facilities.”

David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia.

Passing this Bill will benefit Australia and the surrounding areas over the upcoming eighteen months as the Pacific region experiences high-profile international events such as the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and the America’s Cup in Auckland 2021. Australia can now expect to have approximately 160 superyachts chartering there during these events. Benefits of this also extend to the Australian economy as it will unlock an estimated 11,800 jobs and $1.64bn in revenue.

Swisspath Yachting spoke to Superyacht Support New Zealand, who are the official yacht agents for the Americas Cup, to get their thoughts on the new legislation.

“It’s great news for the Australians for Chartering in their waters, they have been trying to get this over the line for so many years.

We are fortunate to have many specialist craftsmen, which not only attract Superyachts to New Zealand for repair over the last 20+ years, but we have an outstanding destination for the yachts to cruise. For years we have been fortunate to promote New Zealand as a cruising destination and luxury stop over. This Bill now allows more options for the Captains and Managers to present to yacht owners as to why they should be bringing a yacht to the other side of the world and cruise the South Pacific.

Australia can now give owners the option to charter which will most definitely benefit their region significantly which is fantastic for all.  We are two completely different destinations with their own unique culture, not every owner will want both but having the options available is a win win for the South Pacific.”

Duthie Lidgard, Superyacht Support New Zealand