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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Queensland leads the nation with tax-free bus travel

    Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Friday, March 11, 2016

    Queensland leads the nation with tax-free bus travel

    In an Australian first, eligible bus commuters in South East Queensland will soon be able to salary sacrifice their travel to and from work.

    Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe said the new Bus Travel Benefit smartcard developed by TransLink could see regular bus commuters save hundreds of dollars a year based on their annual earnings.

    “This is the first time in Australian history a dedicated smartcard will be made available for eligible employees to use to salary package their travel to and from work by bus,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “Salary sacrificing is something thousands of Australians are already benefiting from in salary packaging schemes, but with this new scheme eligible Queenslanders will be able to significantly save a lot on their annual bus travel to work.”

    Mr Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government supported the benefit to encourage more employees to choose public transport but called on the Australian Government to extend tax concessions for public transport users.

    “This is a fantastic initiative, but I urge the Australian Government to extend this benefit to employees who travel on rail, tram or by ferry,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “The tax ruling should be expanded because many commuters use more than one mode of public transport for their journey and all eligible users should benefit from the scheme.

    "Federal tax rules allow employees to salary-package a car, and if we’re serious about encouraging more people to choose public transport, trains, trams and ferries must be part of the tax ruling.”

    The Bus Travel Benefit smartcard will be just like the standard go card but travel funds will be sourced from pre-tax income deposited into a special account, by an employer or salary packaging provider, for use on bus travel between the employee's place of residence and work.

    The benefit at this stage applies for bus travel only and will be available in Queensland via private sector employers and salary packaging providers who have gained a ruling from the Australian Tax Office.

    The Palaszczuk Government is supporting the rollout of the new Bus Travel Benefit smartcard later in the year as a way to help bus travellers to maximise their income. The product is currently in pilot testing and is due for launch in the second half of 2016. Visit www.translink.com.au to keep up to date with the latest on the product launch.

     

    Media contact: Jessica Hill 0475 950 772