Adding to the growing list of escalating costs in Australia, the mid-year budget update has revealed another hit to wallets: an increase in passport fees.
Beginning July 1, 2024, Australians will face a 15 per cent rise in passport application fees alongside routine annual indexation. It seems that even the cost of passports is not immune to the general uptick in prices.
Utilising the 5.4 percent annual CPI increase observed in September, the cost of a 10-year adult passport is poised to rise from $325 to approximately $394 by the middle of the upcoming year.
In contrast, New Zealand citizens only incur a fee of $192 for a passport valid for a decade, whereas Canadians pay approximately $179 for the same duration.
The government has explained that this initiative is anticipated to generate $349 million over a span of three years, with the resulting revenue being reallocated to address other pressing needs within the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the increase was “relatively modest” considering the extra security benefits the cash would bring.
“The funds from this one-off increase are all about making sure we can resource our passport systems and make them modern and fit for purpose, especially at a time where there are ongoing threats to people’s security and their identity,” he told reporters.
“What is a relatively modest change to passport fees … will mean the new cost of an ordinary Australian adult passport is still less than $40 a year over that 10-year period.”
Despite Chalmers downplaying the increase as “relatively modest” and underscoring the added security benefits, many Australians were still unhappy with rising prices, not swayed by the government’s positive spin.
Why would our passport costs be so much more than New Zealands?
We already have the most expensive passports in the world, what are we doing that makes our passport so costly to produce?
I think there’s room in this for someone to investigate further.
— Kary (@kary_cee) December 13, 2023
Why is it $400 for a $10 document mostly processed by machines?
— BhagsNStonks (@BhagsNStonks) December 13, 2023
They’re already ridiculously expensive. 3x what I pay for my European one
— vanaviisi (@vanaviisi) December 13, 2023
way too expensive
— Elitist Cunt 🇦🇺 (@jetssznnnn) December 13, 2023
It is too much, $400 is sufficient to rent a car for a week.
— Will Wong (@3Eyes_TruthNews) December 14, 2023
Backing the disgruntled sentiment among the Australian public, Opposition tourism spokesperson Kevin Hogan pointed out that this marked the second passport price hike within a year. He further noted that it compounded with a $10 increase in departure tax for those leaving Australia and elevated airfares.
“Tourism and trade are critical for our economy, employing thousands of Australians and particularly in regional and rural Australia,” Hogan said in a statement.
“This reinforces the fact that Labor doesn’t care about our regions, is increasing costs for consumers and damaging critical sectors in the economy.”