Apr 22, 2019

Media Release – Labor commits to major boost to regional tourism – Monday, 22 April 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will drive economic growth and job creation in regional Australia with a comprehensive Regional Tourism Plan that will deliver more jobs, better attractions, better airports and smarter marketing for this critical industry.

The strategy will include $95 million in grants to improve infrastructure around existing tourism attractions, $30 million to expand the range of tourism experiences in individual regions and $25 million for Tourism Australia to get more international visitors to Australia and showcase our beautiful country to domestic tourists.

In addition, a Shorten Labor Government will invest $100 million to help local councils maintain and grow regional airports – ensuring they can operate safely and connect more Australians with the regions.

Tourism is a significant industry – it is at the heart of our regions and provides a significant boost to economies around the country.

Regional tourism provides more than half a million jobs in related industries, with 43 cents in every tourism dollar spent in regional Australia.

However over six years of cuts and chaos, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has failed to support growth of this critical sector, refusing to invest in domestic tourism marketing or to adequately support the industry in its attempts to improve the tourism offering.

Labor’s Regional Tourism plan, the result of extensive consultation with industry, local communities and local government, will bring a new focus to regional tourism. It includes:

Building up existing tourism offerings:

  • Investing $40 million to improve infrastructure around existing regional tourism attractions to build upon their success and improve the experience of visitors
    • Projects will be delivered in partnership with local and state governments or industry.
    • Labor’s investment will include support for Rottnest Island in Western Australia, Freycinet National Park in Tasmania and Sovereign Hill in Victoria.
    • In addition, there will be a further $55 million for infrastructure and facilities upgrades at other world-renowned tourism destinations, which brings this total package to $95 million.
Creating new tourism in our regions:
  • Investing $30 million to unlock new tourism opportunities so individual regions can offer a broader range of experiences to visitors
    • Eligible projects could include feasibility or concept studies such as First Nations cultural experiences, agri-tourism, eco-tourism, new infrastructure or upgrades to existing infrastructure.
    • The fund could also be accessed to improve accessibility at tourism sites which could include disability toilets, improvements to pathways at lookouts for wheelchair access, charging infrastructure for mobility scooters and safety improvements to railings and signage.
    • These projects will also be delivered in partnership with state and local governments or industry.
Attracting new visitors at home and abroad:
  • Boosting the Tourism Australia Budget by $25 million so it can
    • Promote domestic tourism on top of its existing role of international marketing to encourage more Australians to holiday at home.
    • Increase its capacity to work with airports, airlines and governments to facilitate additional joint marketing activities with the aim of encouraging international airlines to put on additional flights and develop new routes.
Supporting regional aviation:
  • Creating of a $100 million fund to improve and grow the nation’s regional airports
    • Councils report a significant backlog in aviation in airport maintenance and would access this grant fund to clear the backlog with projects funded on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
    • Better maintenance of regional airports will not only improve the tourist experience, but more importantly, allow ensure that airports maintain the highest possible levels of safety.

Australia’s tourism offerings are among the best in the world.However, retaining Australia’s competitive advantage as a tourist destination requires investment in high- quality, accessible infrastructure, particularly in regional areas.

This makes a significant difference to the local economies of regional and rural towns across the nation.

Labor’s investment in regional tourism will grow the number of international and domestic visitors to regional Australia, supporting local businesses and growing local jobs.

This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for better investment in regional tourism, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.

After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready.