Jun 5, 2014

Abbott exiles tourism

Tony Abbott has cut off ties between Tourism Australia and the department in charge of tourism, ending coordination between Australia’s key tourism body and the Commonwealth Government in the $107 billion sector.

Today in Senate Estimates the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the committee that the Government gives no consideration to the work of Tourism Australia, which is charged with delivering growth in the sector.

 As the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, I do not take into account substantially what Tourism Australia is doing.

PETER VARGHESE, DFAT SECRETARY, SENATE ESTIMATES, 5 JUNE 2014

With no dedicated Tourism Minister and a reduction in resources to Tourism Australia this year, it is clear the Coalition Government is happy to break its promises to tourism operators around the country to give the sector ‘prominence in government’.

Tourism employs over 900,000 Australians and every dollar spent in the sector adds another 92 cents to other parts of the Australian economy.

But one day before the Budget, Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb revealed that the Coalition Government intends to end Commonwealth funding to tourism altogether.

We are doing all sorts of things to give the opportunity for tourism to maximise the potential that is out there, so that we can replace the role of government spending in driving growth.

ANDREW ROBB, MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT, 12 MAY 2014

Tourism is one of 5 super-growth sectors identified by Deloitte as a key driver of jobs and prosperity over the next 10 years.

Instead of slashing support and hampering key agencies, Tony Abbott should acknowledge the importance of tourism for the national economy.

Appointing a Tourism Minister would be a good place to start.