Tasmania’s rapidly growing tourism industry has been left behind in this year’s Budget, with the Coalition failing to provide the level of investment the State needs.
The Coalition has now missed every opportunity it’s had to properly invest in critical tourism infrastructure for Tasmania.
What’s more, the 2017 Budget revealed that Tourism Australia will see its funding slashed by $35 million over the next four years.
This is despite the fact that for every dollar invested in tourism promotion the return on investment is 16:1.
At the same time the Coalition Government will also receive a $410 million increase in revenue from increasing visa application charges.
This is precisely the opposite of what the tourism sector asked for to make visa fees competitive with other potential destinations.
It also comes on top of their increase in the Passenger Movement Charge last year, which broke an election commitment they gave just months earlier.
At the time the Coalition Government made a clear commitment to the tourism sector that there would be no further retrograde action against the tourism sector.
Yet the Coalition continues to treat tourism as though it is a cash-cow.
Labor understands the importance of tourism not just to Tasmania’s economy as a whole, but also the communities across the State whose local economies rely on visitors.
Tourism in Tasmania contributes $2.55 billion to Gross State Product, nearly 10%, which is the highest in the country.
Tourism also supports 36,700 Tasmanian jobs, more than 15% of total Tassie employment, which is again, the highest in the country.
Given the important role tourism plays in the Tasmania’s economy, the Coalition Government should be looking to support the sector, rather than brutally slashing its funding.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.