Commercial boat operators facing 'skyrocketing' fees

COMMERCIAL vessel operators face 'skyrocketing' costs under a plan to force them to pay license fees to the federal government from July 1.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the Federal Government's  approach to boating reform could see Queensland commercial licenses triple in cost.

"From July 1, commercial vessel operators will need to pay license fees to the Federal Government," Mr Emerson said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The Queensland Government currently collects about 35 per cent of costs to deliver commercial vessel licensing.

"If the Federal Government increases license fees to match those in other states we would see fees in Queensland skyrocket.

"A skipper grade 3 now pays $210 for an annual license in Queensland, compared to more than $600 in three other states."

The former Labor government signed Queensland up to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Commercial Vessel Safety Reform in August 2011.

Mr Emerson said the agreement would bring all Australian jurisdictions under the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, the national safety regulator for commercial vessels.

"The Gillard Government wants to take $3 million collected through licensing and registration of commercial vehicles but I'm yet to see any evidence the Federal Government has any ability to keep costs down," he said.

"That is unacceptable, which is why we will wait to see more detail before endorsing the reforms."

There are 9,800 existing registrations, operator licensing and other certificates in Queensland that would need to be converted and about 1,100 existing commercial licences to transition.



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