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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1969

Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (10:58): I want to bring some seriousness back to the chamber after what can only be seen as a little bit of hilarity. Cruise tourism is a very important sector. It is a fast-growing sector for Australia's tourism industry. Total cruise passenger expenditure was $574 million in 2012-13. This was 29.7 per cent up on 2011-12, and 152.1 per cent up on 2008-09. The sector is an increasingly important contributor to the tourism 2020 objectives.

We were privileged enough to have the head of Carnival Australia speak to the coalition's Friends of Tourism group this week. As she pointed out, in 2012-13, there were 19 Carnival ships carrying 325,000 passengers and made 310 calls to Australian ports. Once again, that is 44.8 per cent of all Australian port calls.

We often think of the standard cruise ship pulling into ports in Melbourne or Sydney, a visitor only to our capital cities. But cruise ships also, importantly, go to regional areas. One of the important regions that cruise ships are about to come to is the south-west of Victoria. This coming weekend, on Saturday, we are about to see the first cruise ship come to the port of Portland. It is a European cruise ship, the Europa, and it will be carrying 660 Europeans on board. They will be embarking at Portland and they will be going to see some of the fantastic tourism sites that the south-west of Victoria has to offer: the 12 Apostles and some of our wonderful tourist attractions around Warrnambool and around Portland. It will be of real benefit to the local economy.

One of the things that I have been pleased to hear is that we are having this first cruise ship come in next weekend but already there are three cruise ships which potentially will be coming next year. The hope is that we will be able to grow the business for the port of Portland so that we could have up to 21 cruise ships docking in Portland during a year. That will be wonderful for our local economy. Tourism provides much-needed jobs—and it is jobs for everyone and, in particular, for our Indigenous communities. We often find Indigenous workers in the tourism sector.

It is going to be terrific for these Europeans to be able to embark on what will be a wonderful adventure for them in the south-west of Victoria. I look forward to being there to welcome them. I look forward to being there to say, 'Welcome to our wonderful country but also welcome to western Victoria and all that it has to offer.' This is a very, very important development for my part of the world, for the part of the world that I represent. I am incredibly excited about what this can potentially mean in terms of adding another important industry into regional and rural Victoria and, coming with that, the extra provision of jobs and the extra provision of income and growth for our sector. We already have important industries, but it is great that we are able this weekend to welcome another one—in the cruise shipping industry