Why Are Australian Passports So Expensive? How Can We Change This?

About to renew a 10 year Australian passport.
Cost >$305

A family would be over $1000, and we cannot even travel at the moment.

BUT it’s required often as a form of identification.

Australia is among the most expensive on charging for a Passport. Read

What is your thought? How to voice the concern?

Drivers licence $316. NDISC $80. Police Check. I find that Government is charging whatever amount on things because they can.

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Comments

  • +2 votes

    What's the problem? It works out to be $30 a year, and our passport office service is relatively good. Not everything can be low cost.

    • +6 votes

      only 8 cents a day

      bargain !

      •  

        only 0.35 cents an hour

        bargain !

        •  

          Sorry OP, I think you missed out.

          'Due to the demand of Australian Passport Renewal we are currently not accepting further applications'

          At $30 a year that's cheaper than Ebay Plus and Amazon Prime.

          Ozbargained!!!

          •  

            @Simoneee:

            At $30 a year that's cheaper than Ebay Plus and Amazon Prime.

            Isn't really a comparison. I can't travel with Ebay Plus or Amazon Prime. Isn't a valid comparison. Cost comparison is only valid with similar G20 countries I would guess.

            •  

              @netjock: You can't travel to places but you can definitely watch videos of other places on Amazon prime (virtual travel).
              That's my 2 cents (6 hours of passport cost)

              •  

                @jsb: You can watch donut's but does it make you full?

      •  

        only 8 cents a day, I remember that ad
        https://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-abc-says-its-8-cents-...
        .

        • +1 vote

          I want my 8 cents back.

    •  

      It is a bit rough if you lose it…and you really haven't been able to use it for the last year.

  • +3 votes

    LOL, you'll find the answers to the same question back in 2017 🤣

    Australia is among the most expensive

    Your can move to another country, if you want a cheaper passport.

    • +7 votes

      Then they'll be complaining about the lower wages.

      • +2 votes

        But they may well have the benefit of lower housing prices relative to that wage.

    •  

      I could get a New Zealand passport.

      I wouldn’t have to move countries.

      It is cheaper.

  • +10 votes

    I don’t think passport is mandatory.

    Driver license and birth cert can be form of identification.

    • +2 votes

      Most (all?) states also offer a proof of age/identity photo card at low cost.

  • +5 votes

    BUT it’s required often as a form of identification.

    no it's not.

    It's also got a heap of security features the little plastic card (DL) doesnt have.

    • +3 votes

      It also guarantees that the Australian government would let you back in*

      • unless you're brown
      •  

        Except for all the Australian cricketers currently in India - and everyone else in India who doesn't happen to be brown…

        •  

          They are allowed back in if they quarantine in a hotel in Maldives or Aspen.

        •  

          Australian cricketers not playing for Australia ?

          They are cricketers who are working privately for pay in India.

  • +4 votes

    Marry an American and get an American passport.

  • +11 votes

    $300 for a 10 year passport from an office with good organisation and security is not bad at all.

    The problem may be that you got more kids than you can afford?

    • -1 vote

      Don't give him idea on complaining about the price of rubber.

    •  

      'Good' relative to what?
      The problem is that there is no competition - you can't get an Australian passport anywhere else - and, this article demonstrates, Australian passports are amongst the most expensive in the world: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6754829/Australian-passports-expensive-world.html#:~:text=The%20Australian%20passport%20has%20been,a%20new%20report%20has%20shown.&text=The%20Department%20of%20Foreign%20Trade,document%20to%20%24293%20(%24USD209).
      The reality is that Australian passport costs have more than doubled over the last 18 years or so.
      Other countries with more 'passport power' have very efficient systems - and still manage to cost much less - for example Singapore was about $80 two years ago, and Switzerland was about $180 two years ago. Do you think their passport offices have poor organisation and weak security?

  • +1 vote

    I do agree that passport, driver's license along with anything that requires something from government is expensive in Australia, but at the same time eh.
    This is not to complain about the pricing, but more of an observation. I am not sure whether that is because there are some inefficiencies in the system or other reasons.

    I am kinda going, other countries might subsidise and would have to keep the cost low for everyone to be able to afford it, if Australian government decides not to subsidise it or do something similar, it's their decision.

    Not sure about other states, but there are other forms of identifications outside of driver's license as well. Proof of Age card was dirt cheap if I remember correctly since it can be used for identification (not just someone who drives).

  • +8 votes

    Try buying a used one on scumtree or wait for an amazon/ebay sale.
    Alternatively, get the other members of your family to change their name, birth date and gender to match yours. That way each one of you can use the passport by just swapping the pic /s

    •  

      "Alternatively, get the other members of your family…"

      Never mix finance and family!

  •  

    I find that Government is charging whatever amount on things because they can.

    What is your thought?

    The federal government doesn't really work the same as a usual company in some senses. Money going to government away from people for the sake of making money can hurt the economy overall by lowering money coming in on the future as people save and not spend (thus getting taxed less or not at all).

    At the end of the day its all about budgeting and spending. Unless you have knowledge of how the federal government works on a low level that you specifically know where to cut and budget to, to cut costs, then at the end of the day its just a movement of money from getting it in one place to another. Sure you can make purchasing a passport cheaper, you just increase the taxes or you lower funding somewhere else (thus increasing the price there instead).

  •  

    Why is Australian Passport so expensive?

    It's a tax, and passport fees (and other taxes) are high because Australia is a democracy, and both the major political parties have a policy of relatively high taxation.

    How to voice the concern?

    You could write to your federal member of Parliament, but you wouldn't get anything other than a polite letter in return. The major political parties won't change their policies as long as they keep winning elections.

    How can we change?

    The only way it will ever change will be when a libertarian political party begins to win a lot of votes and seriously threaten the power of the major political parties.

    The Liberal Democrats (https://www.ldp.org.au/) is one such political party, which is committed to a policy of low taxation, and is the most organised of all the libertarian political parties.

    Unfortunately, they (and the other libertarian parties) do not win too many votes in elections.

    It is very hard to make the average citizen understand the benefits of low taxation. To make them understand that high taxes remove investment money from the economy, and hurt job creation.

    • +16 votes

      It is very hard to understand the benefits of low taxation because everybody with eyes can see the severe problems low tax states have.
      I don’t want 80 year olds behind the counter at Maccas because there is no adequate pension, I don’t want sick people dying for lack of healthcare. I want a well educated population to make our country a good place to live, and I want well regulated law and order to keep everyone safe.

      You should want this too.

      The most cost effective way to provide these essential services is via central government.

      There are plenty of faulty thinkers on Facebook and reddit bitching about government waste, yet when people with similar beliefs get elected, they find much of what they call waste is important to other people, and the bits others might cut are important to them.

    •  

      I don't see how a Libertarian government wouldn't want to increase passport costs and lower taxes instead?

      Any communist parties you can suggest? At least with a communist party, anyone can get a passport freely, with higher taxes of course.

      • -1 vote

        Haha, as a Chinese, can confirm that passport is dirty cheap, 25AUD. Even express one is only 30 bucks.

        As for tax, they don't even tell me how much I paid lol

  •  

    You say a passport is expensive, but you just pointed out that a 10 year driver licence in NSW costs more than the passport itself (yes you usually also have to pay for passport photos).

  • +2 votes

    Why renew it, wait till COVID is over. Ozbargain hack, mine expired April last year. I am just leaving now till couple of years.

    •  

      Because you would need to re-provide all documents to get a new passport?

      •  

        and? how hard is that

        •  

          It's a hassle to find all the original documents for some people. Looks like you're well prepared.

          •  

            @orangetrain: other than birth certificate / citizenship papers for foreigner what else do you need. i renewed a foreign passport after few years gap and it required nothing other than old passport.
            cant old passport suffice anyway?

      • +4 votes

        Only once it has been expired for 3 years.

        As it costs ~$30/year, hence you can 'save' $90 by not replacing it immediately (particularly when we can't travel anywhere anyway).

        • +2 votes

          This. I only just found this out recently that one has up to 3 years past expiry in order to renew their passport and it still goes through the standard renewal procedure.

        •  

          sweet ill leave it to the last month:)

  • +2 votes

    I agree that Australian passport costs are unjustified. In addition they don't even serve their primary purpose because Australians are forbidden from international travel.

    The problem is there are so many policy fires and the state and federal governments just don't care. They just don't care.

    They're all too busy making obscure laws to please tiny minorities and whatever the fad of the week happens to be.

    Sorting out quarantine? Not important.

    Getting Australians abroad back home? Not important.

    Dealing with a completely out of control housing market? Not important.

    Unfortunately passport costs are way down on the list of brutally unfair policies.. and haven't a hope of being addressed.

    •  

      Why is the cost of a passport brutally unfair?
      There are many very important services that are underfunded. Dropping passport costs mean cuts to those or higher taxes, which would see passport costs subsidised by non-travellers, which hardly seems fairer.

      • +5 votes

        Your personal choice not to travel does not make you any more of, or better an, Australian citizen. It is an extremely dangerous view, which Dan Andrews has been promoting lately, that an Australian citizen abroad is somehow less of an Australian citizen and entitled to less rights than other Australian citizens.

        Passport fees should not be greater than the cost of production and administration, which they are by some margin, which means those who purchase/rent them are subsidising others.

        Australian government departments have gotten drunk off fee-happy policies. We are all charged taxes and yet somehow basic services are still a user-pays model… and not just user-pays but user-overpays so departments can $$profit$$ off mandatory registrations and the like.

        Feel free to do any amount of research into this instead of having a go at people who might need a passport.

        • +1 vote

          Totally agree, same applies to driver license, even it's only 50 bucks a year, but what do we get for paying it.

        •  

          Are you suggesting the majority of passport holders need their trip to Bali?
          I’ll say it again, if you cut the prices of passports, the forgone revenue has to be made up from cuts to services that will at least partially fall on those who don’t travel, or higher taxes that will fall at least partially on those who don’t travel.

          There are many Australians who have business or family overseas, for whom travel is important. But why would cutting passport fees for these people be a better use of government funds than, increasing welfare payments or cutting taxes?

          We accept user pays for many services the government provides. Why should passport users not contribute a bit extra to the funding foreign affairs gets to provide consular assistance, travel advisories etc?

          •  

            @mskeggs: I love not paying any mining taxes and heavy subsides so I can afford regressive tax items like passports. /s

            Tax the rich.

            We accept user pays for many services the government provides. Why should passport users not contribute a bit extra to the funding foreign affairs gets to provide consular assistance, travel advisories etc?

            LOL. The Federal governments have always did knee jerk reactions and gave away Australian citizens if foreign governments asked. Expecting any help if a person has a passport a joke. You need to be rich for them to give af.

          •  

            @mskeggs:

            We accept user pays for many services the government provides.

            I don't. We pay taxes relative to our incomes. Those taxes ought to be used to provide services to anyone rather than services selectively offered to those willing to pay the high fees. Otherwise public functions begin to look a lot like private functions and the poorer in society find themselves having to choose which public functions they wish to utilise. The idea that somebody injured in Victoria must pay in excess of $1,000 for an ambulance ride to hospital is not one that I support.

            Are you suggesting the majority of passport holders need their trip to Bali?

            Haven't got any idea where you might have got that idea from. And it is this incredibly narrow view that passport holders must solely want them for frivolous international holidays that is so degrading in Australian media and politics right now.

            if you cut the prices of passports, the forgone revenue has to be made up from cuts to services that will at least partially fall on those who don’t travel, or higher taxes that will fall at least partially on those who don’t travel

            People holding passports aren't necessarily travelling. And for them the unnecessary fees and charges for a passport is an extra burden. Already travellers pay additional taxes every time they pass through an airport.

            As for the assumption that making the charges for passports more aligned with actual costs rather than profiteering will somehow punish other more essential services… well, which services? There are many that are funded with taxpayer money that I think serve no useful purpose. Wiser use of taxation would be in tall order.

            There are many Australians who have business or family overseas, for whom travel is important. But why would cutting passport fees for these people be a better use of government funds than, increasing welfare payments or cutting taxes?

            You cannot just assume somebody with family overseas is not worthy of support or care. Many Australians have refugees in their family history, don't reject them. We (with the exception of a few) are all immigrants one way or another. To view overseas travel as some kind of special privilege is to basically ignore most of Western settlement in this country.

    • +1 vote

      I agree that Australian passport costs are unjustified

      Government is acting like any monopoly. They just pretend that they are working for the people.

      It is like sexual harassment in government, you'd think heads would be rolling. CEO of Australia Post got the sack for giving away expensive watches which is hardly as life changing as being harassed but hardly anyone of note got the sack.

  • +2 votes

    BUT it’s required often as a form of identification.

    I’ve never even had a passport.

  • +2 votes

    I find that Government is charging whatever amount on things because they can.

    That's government for you. And yet they'll tell you they're investing in "more efficient service delivery".

  • +3 votes

    Yeah the cost is ridiculous - but what about those that renewed or ordered a new passport just before COVID only for the government to not allow travel - shouldn't there be some free extension to your passport expiry, or a reimbursement of part of the fee paid?

    •  

      The government allowed some to travel.

      • +2 votes

        Must be one of the following:

        • Rich

        • Cricketer

        • On government business

        Any more?

        •  

          In general, that seems to cover it, apart from ex-Government people applying for international jobs, and mining executives (who probably fall into the 'Rich' category).
          But we don't really know who applied and who was successful.

  • +3 votes

    WHat's the problem with using Driver's License as ID?

    •  

      OP is just having a whine.

      •  

        It's shooting from the hip

    •  

      Maybe the cop already cut it in half.

    •  

      For some application, more than one form of ID is required. The birth certificate is too precious to carry around.

      •  

        The birth certificate is too precious to carry around.

        That's why you photocopy it and get a JP to sign it…

  • +3 votes

    If you can't afford the passport, you can't afford the trip.

    •  

      sorry mate that slogan is already claimed by travel insurance.

  • +2 votes

    A little off topic, but years ago my main complaint was that the main identity page wasn't even moderately waterproof like some European passports I had seen. Even though a water damaged passport might be rejected anyway, it was ridiculous to have an internationally-recognised ID page less robust than my school card.

    There may have been political, technological and security-related reasons for the delay, but Australia (and much of the world lagging behind, including the US and UK) should be getting polycarbonate main identity pages this year. Not that it will be of much use…

  • -1 vote

    Might be expensive compared to other countries, but do you know how easy it is to obtain a passport here compared to other countries?

    Our process is fairly efficient and streamlined. My colleagues from India have told me to get a passport in India, they have to spend an entire day waiting in multiple queues. It's probably a lot cheaper there, but their system is so bad that you lose at least a day of work.

    I find that Government is charging whatever amount on things because they can.

    No. You haven't "found" that. You are just assuming that, you haven't found any evidence to suggest that. What is the actual cost of running our systems? Services do cost money, workers need to be paid.

    •  

      The British invented bureaucracy.

      The Indians perfected it.

    •  

      My colleagues from India have told me to get a passport in India, they have to spend an entire day waiting in multiple queues. It's probably a lot cheaper there, but their system is so bad that you lose at least a day of work.

      Even worse, in India the local police officer has to visit your home and physically verify you before sending an all clear report to the passport office. Without paying bribe that is not going to happen. If you have any personal issues with the policeman he will not even visit your home and you can’t do anything about it, just f**ked.

  •  

    Here is a fact for you OP - if you add up the cost of running the passport system AND the cost of providing consular services to Australians (that is, to anyone with a passport) then the total is roughly equivalent to the revenue from passport fees. So you can look at this way - for Australians
    who don't have a passport, the current fee system means they are not subsidizing those who do. Fair isn't it?

    •  

      Add to that the facts that Australians top the list of countries that lose their passports. And also top the list of countries that have their passports stolen. We don't do ourselves any favours, do we?

  • +4 votes

    I think the best comparison is with New Zealand:

    NZ Adult passport NZD $191 ($178)
    AU Adult passport $301

    Also Australia has one of the largest departure taxes at $60 whereas I don't even think New Zealand has one.

    I think the main reason for the high passport costs and departure taxes is the federal government wants more revenue but it uses sneaky was to make it look like they're giving you a tax cut but then they raise prices in other areas to claw back revenue.

    •  

      NZ are currently considering imposing a departure tax (no idea how much that may be).

      No-one is forcing anyone to get a passport. So you could, in the true OzB way, take any tax cuts and not participate in those other areas that increase in cost.

      •  

        New Zealand has recently been introducing all kinds of punitive fees for tourists visiting the country, it is disgusting.

        Something seriously broke in the government over there.

        •  

          Did you identify why those are being introduced?
          The articles I have seen relate to over-tourism and protecting the environment (much the same as parts of Europe have done over the years).

          •  

            @GG57: The article says "But it has not yet decided where the money will be spent." so its simple revenue raising.

            • -1 vote

              @samfisher5986: It could be; it could be to discourage some of the high number of visitors to those areas that are affected by over-tourism.

              Regardless, NZ just had a general election so I don't think anything is broke as suggested by infy.

  • +3 votes

    Like everything else in Australia? I have to pay $2500/year to be member of a professional association. With the same amount I can pay the equivalent membership in the UK and USA, and the flight tickets to the annual conference in the USA.

    Australia lost the good sense a long time ago…

    And yes, I do believe that they charge ridiculous amounts of money just because they can, because people have no other option (saying that having a passport is a choice is BS).

    It's like Vicroads charging unjustifiable booking fees in addition to the usual fees.

    I've recently paid 65 Euro ($100) for my European passport, everything online, delivered to my home address in a few days. Very "efficient and streamlined".

    • -1 vote

      The government of the European country that issued your passport presumably offers consular services to its citizens who are travelling outside that country and has taken a (democratic) decision not to try to recoup the cost of those consular services through passport fees. That is their choice. Our government has made a different decision and prefers not to require its citizens without passports to subsidize those that do. Making choices - that is what we pay elected leaders to do.

    • +2 votes

      Having a passport is most definitely a choice.
      Apparently, only ~57% of Australians have chosen to have a passport, which aligns with the approximate 40% that have never left Australia.
      It may be that you would not have your same job, same holidays, etc., but it is still your choice.

      • +4 votes

        We should consider that 25% of the Australian population is younger than 20yo and many of them might not be able to make a decision about paying or not to have a passport, traveling or not. Therefore, "57% of Australians have a passport" doesn't mean "57% of Australians have chosen to have a passport and 43% don't want to travel overseas".

        I got your passport data from here and combined with this to speculate a bit as we don't have the passport rating by age groups.

        Moreover, if people can't afford a passport or flight tickets or hotels overseas, or travel expenses altogether, I wouldn't say that's a choice, otherwise we have to say that people who can't afford a home or food are just making bad choices in life.

        I'm quite sure that if we saw a good OzBargain deal such as "FREE flight tickets and hotel for two weeks @ anywhere in the world - Passport Required", the numbers would be different. If it were "FREE flight tickets and hotel for two weeks anywhere in the world AND free passport", the number would be even better. And it can get much better if we include personal expenses.

  •  

    How about a class action to recoup costs of passports whilst the government wont let us use them???

    • Just a joke, no need to get all angsty.