Federal Labor welcomes the release of Queensland Labor’s tourism policy, which will see the portfolio elevated to Cabinet, along with a $100 million commitment to the Great Barrier Reef.
More support for tourism means more jobs and stronger local economies.
This is particularly important in regional centres such as Cairns where unemployment is high and job creation depends on the visitor economy.
Tourism accounts for 1 in 10 jobs in Queensland employing around 250,000 people.
But rather than support this vital industry, Campbell Newman has sought to mimic his best mate, Tony Abbott, who axed all domestic tourism funding and abolished investment-driving research upon being elected.
Mr Newman was slammed by peak body the Tourism and Transport Forum last year for cutting almost $20 million from tourism funding in the 2014 state budget, despite warnings the move would further reduce the state’s competitiveness amidst stagnating visitor numbers.
The cuts came just months after the Abbott Government announced it had scrapped Round 2 of the Tourism Industry Regional Fund, affecting 82 Queensland tourism businesses and costing millions in lost private matching capital already secured by local businesses.
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 Queensland’s tourism sector needs to grow jobs and the state’s economy.