Western Australia's emerging tourism industry will be devastated by the Liberals' proposed GST.
Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Ian Taylor said tourism was one of WA's best prospects for economic development and job creation in the 90s.
The number of interstate visitors had risen dramatically - an average of 16.6 per cent growth in the past three years - international flights were on the increase and tourism was becoming a major contributor to export income.
Tourism now employed more than 30,000 people directly, and many thousands more were employed in related activities. Tourism employment was increasing by 12 per cent a year - well ahead of other industries.
Mr Taylor said the Liberals' GST would batter tourism into a slow and painful death.
He said it was recognised in the industry that WA tourism would be the hardest hit by Fightback.
"It is almost as though Fightback was designed to put WA's tourism industry out of business," he said.
"Interstate and intrastate airfares will attract GST, making travel to and within WA even more prohibitive.
"Although international airfares will not attract GST, there will be no GST rebate on goods and services bought by international tourists, making us a far less attractive destination.
"WA already suffers because of its isolation and the great distances involved in travelling to and within the State. This problem will be compounded by the GST."
Mr Taylor said tourism packages, which had given WA tourism a big boost in recent years, would suddenly cost 15 per cent more - making other destinations in Australia and overseas much more attractive.
He said the accounting firm Ernst & Young had analysed the impact of the GST on tourism and had concluded:
· Restaurant meals would rise by up to 14 per cent.
· Accommodation would cost up to 13 per cent more.
· Alcoholic beverages would cost about 8 per cent more.
Mr Taylor said the GST would also be a disincentive to investment in tourism developments, with building costs estimated to rise by at least five per cent.
"On top of this, Fightback proposes changes to employment conditions by taking away penalty rates," he said.
"The last thing you need in the tourism and hospitality industries is an unhappy workforce.
"As employers use Fightback to reduce labour costs, tourism workers who opt to remain under award conditions rather than sign employment contracts will find themselves working shifts with no penalty rates.
"Experienced staff will not happily accept a reduction in take-home pay, and replacing them with cheaper labour will be counter-productive."