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Wednesday, 25 June 2003
Page: 17572

Mr ADAMS (9:52 AM) —I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House of the positive movement in tourism related activities in my home state of Tasmania. Bass Strait ferries Spirit of Tasmania I andII were purchased and put into service last year, carrying up to 1,400 passengers and 100 cars between Melbourne and Devonport. The tourist industry in Tasmania, which includes many operations in my electorate of Lyons, is, I am happy to say, going from strength to strength. Only this week our state Premier, Jim Bacon, announced that a third ferry is to begin operations between Sydney and Devonport, giving fast and comfortable sea access to Tasmania from even further afield.

In addition to this, a direct air link between Tasmania and Antarctica is now on the cards, with the recent announcement by the Australian Antarctic Division of the contracting of two planes for Antarctic service. Not only will this increase the help and support that Tasmania already gives to the southern polar operations; it will also increase Hobart's attractiveness as the premier Antarctic information and resource centre outside Antarctica itself. This will obviously further increase the number of visitors to Tasmania—in fact, a healthy $170 million has come into the state's economy this financial year and the new initiatives promise to generate even more next year.

With tourism numbers up over 15 per cent and the TT-Line having taken over half a million bookings this financial year, many tourist operators are recognising the potential of the island state as a premium tourist destination. At Coles Bay, on the east coast of Tasmania and in my electorate, Federal Hotels and Resorts are planning a new multimillion dollar tourist complex. This is a clear economic boost to both the east coast and the Tasmanian economy. It is up to us to put together the infrastructure needed in these areas that are starting to become the tourist areas of Tasmania. There is a lot of work to be done, but with good sense and a Labor government, such as the good one led by Jim Bacon, I believe that can be achieved.

I commend the Tasmanian government and the industrious people of Tasmania for making the most of our beautiful island. However, I was concerned to hear this morning that the National Party has agreed with the Liberals to sell the rest of Telstra. I have been involved for many years in trying to protect rural Australia. I know that you, as a National Party member, Mr Deputy Speaker Causley, and people as far back as Black Jack McEwen have been trying to protect regional Australia and have had a lot of difficulties in doing so. I wish you the best of luck in trying to reverse this decision. (Time expired)