Tony Abbott’s key tourism spokesman has been caught seeking personal political credit for Government grants funded last July from a program he has specifically been tasked with scrapping.
Parliamentary Secretary for Industry Bob Baldwin posted on Facebook images of himself on 29 November “announcing’’ a $110,00 grant to a NSW koala sanctuary under the previous Labor Government’s T-QUAL program, designed to help improve the quality of tourism attractions.
In fact, Labor announced the grant and 88 others worth a total of $8.5 million on July 26 this year – well before the election of the Abbott Government.
On October 29 Mr Baldwin told the Tourism Directions Conference in Canberra the T-QUAL scheme would be scrapped and the money instead spent on infrastructure.
That was confirmed in a Senate Estimates Committee hearing on November 21 when a senior public servant revealed that Mr Baldwin’s only role in tourism was to shut down the grants program.
The role for Parliamentary Secretary Baldwin is to wind up the current discretionary grants program and then his role will cease in tourism.
Deborah Lewis, General Manager, Tourism Australia,
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
21 November 2013
The Coalition has so little interest in tourism that it has to resort to the pathetic tactic of stealing Labor announcements to pretend it is engaged with the sector.
Rather than re-announcing Labor initiatives, Mr Baldwin would be better occupied pressing his colleagues to get serious about tourism, which provides precious jobs right across the nation.
Mr Baldwin’s Facebook posts showing him posing with koalas at Oakvale Farm and Fauna World in Port Stephens can be viewed here. They are also included in the attached full version of this media release.
Labor’s announcement of the same grant on July 26, 2013, can be seen here.