Federal Labor welcomes the release of the Queensland State Budget today which includes a $400 million funding guarantee for the job-creating tourism sector.
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.
These funds will also help offset Tony Abbott’s worst cuts to tourism, which including the total withdrawal of the Commonwealth from domestic tourism marketing.
They also will help address the shortfall created by Campbell Newman and his former LNP State Government, which axed $20 million tourism funding in the 2014 Budget.
Tourism accounts for 1 in 10 jobs in Queensland employing around 250,000 people.
The sector has been nominated by Deloitte as one of 5 super-growth sectors which will drive job creation and economic growth in Australia over the next 20 years.
Yet upon being elected Tony Abbott slashed support to the sector, including for critical data and research and a successful regional tourism grants program.
He also reduced Great Barrier Reef funding – an environmental and economic asset to Australia that generates over 65,000 full time jobs and $5.7 billion every year.
Tony Abbott’s decision to axe domestic marketing funding disproportionately hurts states like Queensland which rely on tourism dollars for jobs and economic growth.
What he fails to understand is that Australian states and territories are not competing against each other for Australians’ tourism dollars.
They are competing against low-cost international destinations like Bali and Thailand.
If we are to sustain and grow Australian tourism we must invest in the domestic tourism market, which accounts for 70% of Australia’s total tourism sector.
It is time for Tony Abbott to reverse his cuts to domestic tourism marketing and provide real support for the industry.
Appointing a Tourism Minister would be a good start.