Tony Abbott and his best mate Campbell Newman have abandoned Tropical North Queensland, joining forces to cut tourism funding, slash local roads funding and hurt families with cuts to jobs, health, education and pensions.
Tropical North Queensland is a diverse and dynamic region that relies on tourism.
Yet upon being elected Mr Abbott cancelled all Commonwealth funding for domestic tourism, cut vital tourism research and most remarkably, will not hold Australia Week in China this year.
There is not even a Tourism Minister.
Instead of seeking to help the tourism industry, Campbell Newman simply followed in Mr Abbott’s footsteps, cutting over $20 million from tourism in his 2014 Budget, resulting in a drop in visitor numbers to Queensland while other states surged.
We can and must do better.
The previous Labor Government led the way, providing record funding to Tropical North Queensland, including regional grants for the tourism industry and a doubling of infrastructure spending from $143 to $314 per person.
We also delivered record funding for the Bruce Highway, including the Sarina to Cairns section currently under construction, and the Cape York Infrastructure Package, since re-announced by the Abbott Government.
The former Labor Government also invested in community, sports and education infrastructure including the upgrade of Cazalys Stadium and Jones Park, and AFL Cape York House.
Labor’s support for tourism and infrastructure is about driving jobs. This is particularly important in Cairns where unemployment has risen and youth unemployment remains above 20 per cent.
Deloitte has named tourism as one of 5 super-growth sectors with the potential to drive job creation and economic growth in Australia over the next 20 years.
But with no federal Tourism Minister for the first time in 40 years and Mr Newman’s savage cuts to the industry, it is clear that only a Queensland Labor Government will deliver the support that Tropical North Queensland needs for jobs and growth.