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Tuesday, 2 June 1998
Page: 4492

Mr ENTSCH (10:54 PM) —I rise here tonight somewhat as a salesman. I have a postcard that was prepared in my electorate from Cairns: `We live here. We love it. Come up and say G'day'. This was an initiative that evolved out of a period of time recently when there was a lot of negative reporting in the press on a whole range of incidents in the region. It seemed that almost on a daily basis when you picked up the paper any of the good news stories were relegated to pages 6, 7 and 8, and it was also always a headline with some form of negativity. As a consequence, given the reliance on tourism in the region, it was certainly putting forward a very distorted view of what the region was all about.

A group of local community people and business people decided to get together. They organised a meeting in February which attracted some 120-odd people. They also took the time to invite the local media, and they discussed ways in which they could overcome the perceived negative view that was being run by the media and which was certainly affecting the number of people that were likely to come into our area. There were certainly some serious concerns. The meeting stressed that the media had a responsibility to get the facts correct, to cut out a lot of the drama that they put in and to start to print some good positive news items. There was certainly no shortage of them. As a result, several other meetings were held and we had the formulation of this postcard idea. At this stage I would like to pay a special tribute to Geoff Smith, the HIA regional manager, who was one of the three individuals who came up with the original concept. There was also Alan Black from Barbeques Galore and Rob Goodwin from the local REIQ branch.

We have produced 148,000 of these postcards. A lot of people have contributed to this, and I would like to acknowledge them. They are Ansett Airlines; Billabong Car Rentals; Cairns Hilton; Cairns City Council, particularly Tom Pyne, who contributed significantly; Sunlover Cruises; REIQ; Barbeques Galore; Radio Rentals; and Tourism Tropical North Queensland. The idea of this is that they are sent out all over Australia. My colleagues here may recall that the other day I gave a postcard to both members of the House of Representatives and the Senate inviting them to come and say `G'day'.

Mr Latham —I would certainly love to come and say `G'day', but I haven't got an invitation.

Mr ENTSCH —I will certainly pass one on before I leave. On the back of the postcard there is an opportunity to put your name and send it back.

Mr Latham —The whole shadow ministry will come and say `G'day' to every voter.

Mr ENTSCH —We would love to have you up there. You may even win a free trip to stay at the Hilton and do some Sunlover Cruises. We have had an excellent response. At this stage over 4,000 replies have been posted back to Tourism Tropical North Queensland. At the moment they are receiving on average about 200 per day. I draw the attention of the member for Werriwa (Mr Latham) to the fact that the competition closes on 30 June, so I will give him one before I leave the chamber. I encourage him to post it.

It has been a great initiative, and it has worked very well. It has certainly put a whole different slant onto Cairns. We are looking at proceeding with a similar promotion as a second level of it. I commend all of those who were involved. We had a problem, and the community have pulled themselves up by the socks and found a solution which is working very well. I congratulate the Cairns community for their excellent effort in this.

Mr SPEAKER —It being almost 11.00 p.m., the debate is interrupted.