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Same-sex marriage 'would boost business and tourism in Australia'

More than half (57.5 per cent) of eligible voters had returned their completed surveys on whether or not same-sex marriage should be legalised in Australia at the end of last week, the latest figures show.

Australians have until Tuesday November 7th to vote in the poll, with 9.2 million people already making their decision, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the matter will be debated in parliament if the majority of voters are in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, a new report has emerged from the Queensland Department of Tourism that predicts legalising same-sex marriage would provide a significant boost for both business and tourism down under.

The department believes that a change to the country's Marriage Act will make the country appear more welcoming to a greater number of overseas visitors. Australia could even be an attractive destination for their nuptials or honeymoon; if so, this additional spending would provide an extra boost to the local economy.

A spokesman for the Queensland Department of Tourism commented: "We could see increased spending relating to honeymoon expenditure, including travel and accommodation, wedding planning, increased catering services and out-of-state wedding guests."

They added that this would lead to the creation of extra jobs for Australians, again providing a boost to the country's economy. These wouldn't just be in the hospitality and tourism industries, but also in state government departments that process the registration of marriages, for example.

"State and Commonwealth governments will also benefit directly from the increase in spending through a range of taxes," the spokesperson continued.

In fact, ANZ economists Cherelle Murphy and Mandeep Kaura told ABC News that with the 2011 Census showing there were 46,000 same-sex couples living in Australia, the first 12 months following the introduction of the proposed legislation would most likely generate more than $1 billion for the nation's economy.

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