Federal Labor’s commitment to driving tourism in Australia has been welcomed by Western Australian Tourism Minister Bob Kucera.
Mr Kucera said today’s announcement that a Latham Labor Government would maintain the Tourism White Paper funding of $235million showed Mr Latham understood that tourism was one of the nation’s important and growing economic drivers.
Figures show that, as an industry, tourism now provides more jobs in Australia (540,700) than mining and more than agriculture, forestry and fishing industries combined.
Mr Kucera said he was also comfortable with the changes announced by Shadow Tourism Minister Senator Kerry O’Brien, which would mean the $45.5million for ‘See Australia’ would be redirected into regional initiatives.
“This matches the direction WA has taken and with our strong five independent Regional Tourism Organisation structures, WA is well-placed to make the most of this redirection of funds,” he said.
“While the States would never reject any Federal money allocated to tourism promotion, there had always been significant concern about the increased level of funding to ‘See Australia’ under the White Paper.
“Essentially, ‘See Australia’ is a body whose job is to tell Australians to take leave and holiday at home. With workplace instability increasing under the Howard Government over the past couple of years, it doesn’t matter how much you spend promoting such ideas - if people don’t have job security, they won’t take holidays.
“The redirection of funding to the regions will provide the industry, particularly in regional areas of WA which depend on tourism for economic prosperity, with much greater returns than that delivered by the centralised bureaucracy of ‘See Australia’.”
The Minister said with the State’s announcement this week that it was preparing a new $2.75million ‘brand’ marketing campaign and today’s announcement by the Federal Labor Opposition, the tourism industry was well placed to grow strongly, providing jobs across the country.
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