Labor welcomes Malcolm Turnbull’s appointment of Richard Colbeck as Tourism Minister after two years of Coalition inaction on this critical job-creating sector.
But the real test of the new prime minister’s tourism credentials is whether he will reinstate funding cuts in areas like tourism promotion and research.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott refused to appoint a stand-alone tourism minister, tacking responsibility for this important sector on to the trade portfolio.
The Coalition’s about face follows two years of pressure from Labor and the sector for a stand-alone ministry and two years of missed opportunities in tourism, which employs nearly one million Australians and is our largest services export.
A report produced for Tourism Accommodation Australia showed a $16 return for every $1 invested in international marketing.
At a time when reduced commodity prices are reducing resource sector earnings, the Government should target tourism growth as a way to create jobs.
Senator Colbeck can boost the sector by:
- Restoring tourism grants funding for regional tourism businesses;
- Providing tourism operators with access to the small business advice program;
- Delivering on Coalition promises to fund tourism infrastructure; and
- Reinstating the Survey of Tourist Accommodation.