While Malcolm Turnbull celebrates one year as Prime Minister today, the Australian tourism industry is marking more than three years of Government inaction on policy to support and grow their sector.
Federal Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo still has not outlined the Coalition’s plan to invest in tourism, which is a super growth sector that employs more than one million people across Australia.
He has also failed to fix the Coalition’s disastrous backpacker tax mess.
This is despite the most recent International Visitor Survey showing Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory already experiencing a decline in the number of backpacker visitors.
All three of these, as well as New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT are showing a serious decline in backpacker visitor nights.
This is creating enormous uncertainty for the agricultural sector with many farmers concerned they will be unable to secure labour to pick their crops.
During its last term in office, the Coalition slashed investment-driving data and research funding, cut regional tourism infrastructure grants and cancelled Australia’s membership of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
Under the Coalition, there was not even a Minister for Tourism for two out of the past three years with no one to represent the sector at the Cabinet table or around the world at key international events.
If the Coalition wants to be taken seriously in the tourism industry it must take action now to address this embarrassing track record.
Labor understands the importance of Federal investment in Australian tourism.
We recognise the difference this sector makes, not just to the Australian economy, but the communities around the nation that rely on this sector for their livelihood.