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Australian boat anglers left reeling by 88% increase in licence fees


Boat anglers in New South Wales, Australia, face an incredible 88% increase in Personal Watercraft (PWC) licence fees and a 30% hike in general boat licence fees.

The country’s recreational fishing trade trade body, the Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA), reports that the Boating Industry Association (BIA) is calling on small business owners and riders in the PWC sector to reach out to their local NSW Member of Parliament to formally request an urgent review into what will amount to arguably the most expensive licences in the world.

AFTA says the proposed changes – due to come into force in NSW from 1st July – risk forcing families out of the sport in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, and sending boating and PWC businesses to the wall.

The record increases to PWC licence and registration fees will directly impact the hundreds of boating and PWC businesses in NSW, the thousands of people they employ – including apprentice mechanics – and the pockets of more than 90,000 PWC licence holders and 460,000 boat licence holders across the State. 

The BIA is still waiting on a formal response from the NSW Government after a meeting last week which also included a representative for all three PWC brands – Sea-Doo, Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Faced with a looming deadline – and no indication as to whether the extraordinary price hikes will be reviewed by the NSW Government – BIA is encouraging boating and personal watercraft business owners, and PWC owners to contact their local NSW Member of Parliament and make their concerns known.

“It is normal for Transport for NSW to adjust boating fees for boat licences, registration and moorings annually to reflect inflation (CPI) and that has been the approach for more than 20 years,” a BIA spokesman said.

“This year Transport for NSW however has applied extraordinary increases of up 88 per cent – even though the current rate of inflation (CPI) in the wider economy is 5.89% – without consulting industry or boater or PWC groups.”

The NSW Government is proposing these substantial increases in PWC licences and registration fees even though it has already received a massive financial windfall after the number of PWC licence holders in the state grew by 44% over the past five years. PWC boomed in popularity following COVID-19 but sales have slowed over the past year, impacted by cost of living pressures.

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