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Wednesday, 26 May 2004
Page: 29270

Mr SECKER (12:41 PM) —It gives me great pleasure to add my support to the Tourism Australia Bill 2004 and the Tourism Australia (Repeal and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2004. In my electorate and throughout Australia the tourism industry is thriving. That is a simple fact. The Howard government are aware of this and want to ensure that it continues to thrive, which is what this legislation seeks to do. When I describe my electorate in Barker, I like to say that it is the home of good food, good wine and good people—three very good ingredients for a successful tourism industry. It is very interesting that there was an article in the local paper in South Australia, the Advertiser, on Tuesday which said that tourism contributed an extra $1 billion to the Australian economy in 2002-03. It also said that, in the 2002-03 financial year, tourism contributed $32 billion to the gross domestic product. Further research informed me that, during 2003, 4.4 million international visitors came to Australia, spending 117 million nights in Australia, with the average length of stay being 27 nights. They spent $11 billion on Australian products—an average of $2,498 each.

According to the South Australian Tourism Commission's fact sheet, At a Glance, in 2001 tourism generated $3.4 billion of expenditure, which supported 36,800 full-time equivalent jobs in South Australia. Under this legislation, we will be forming a new, single national tourism body, Tourism Australia, which will encompass the functions of four bodies. The first body is the Australian Tourist Commission, which is currently the statutory body responsible for international marketing to promote Australia overseas and for undertaking market research to help grow our nation's industry. The second body is See Australia, which is currently responsible for developing and implementing strategies to raise the desire among Australians to travel more in Australia, as well as making it easier for them to find tourism information and book and pay for Australian holidays. The third body is the Tourism Forecasting Council, established in 1993, which is currently responsible for developing forecasts to assist with the making of tourism policy and investment decisions. And the fourth body is the Bureau of Tourism Research, which provides timely and relevant statistics and analyses to the tourism industry. Tourism Australia will certainly by very much an encompassing body.

My electorate of Barker, which has just been expanded to some 64,000 square kilometres, contains some of Australia's most amazing tourist attractions and experiences—from the World Heritage listed Naracoorte Caves, which date back 350,000 years and are amongst the five most fossil rich deposits in the world, to Broken Cliffs at Waikerie, which is yet another interesting fossil site, to the mystifying Blue Lake in Mount Gambier and the Monarto Zoological Park at Monarto, just to name a few. The electorate of Barker offers tourists some pretty amazing tourism adventures, not to mention some outstanding wineries for those interested in wine tourism. For example, in the electorate of Barker is the world-renowned Barossa Valley, which attracted 2.4 million cellar door visitors in 1999. That was 60 per cent of the total cellar door visitors to South Australia. Just to show the importance of the Barossa Valley, 43 per cent of all international visitors to South Australia in 2002 visited the Barossa for either a day trip or a longer stay, and around 36 per cent of the domestic visitors who stayed in the Barossa visited a winery during their visit. Whilst I have focused very briefly on only one wine region in the Barker electorate, I feel that this kind of success must be mirrored in the other wine regions in the electorate—the Limestone Coast, the Lower Murray and the Riverland, home of the famous Coonawarra Estate wines, Padthaway Wines and so on.

This is a great bill and I am very pleased to support it. I congratulate not only the government but, most importantly, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Joe Hockey, and his very good support staff—people like Matt and Tony, who are sitting behind me. They do a great job. It is a great service industry, which is growing in Australia and doing a great job for Australia.