Sep 9, 2014

Robb seeks credit for tourism program he opposes

Trade Minister Andrew Robb has sought political credit for a tourism project funded under a Labor Government grants program he tried to abolish as soon as he was sworn into office.

Mr Robb attended the opening of the Stanley Heritage Walk in Tasmania on Sunday where he lavished praise on the project, which was funded through the former Labor Government’s T-QUAL grants program in 2012.

Rather than seeking credit for Labor’s good work, Mr Robb should explain why upon gaining office he tried to axe the T-QUAL program and withhold $8.5 million from 89 approved projects that had already been approved and announced in July 2013.

Labor and industry pressure eventually forced him to deliver the funds.

While Mr Robb is happy to claim credit for Labor Government tourism projects in front of the cameras, he is working hard behind the scenes to cut support for tourism wherever he can – whether it be grant programs, domestic marketing, statistics or research.

A year after promising millions for demand-boosting tourism infrastructure projects, not a dollar has been delivered and not a single project exists.

The Commonwealth Government should be Australian tourism’s best friend.

The $107 billion sector, which employs nearly one million people, deserves real support and representation at the Cabinet table and around the world.

If Tony Abbott wants to be taken seriously by the sector, he needs to take it seriously too.

He should start by appointing a Minister for Tourism.