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Wednesday, 19 November 1986
Page: 2526

Senator NEWMAN(8.13) —I wish to draw attention to the Tourism Advisory Council. It is set up to maintain close consultative links between government and the industry. The terms of the Council state that the membership is designed to reflect in a balanced way the interests of various industry sectors, trade unions and other interested parties. I draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that this Tourism Advisory Council has 18 members and is totally unrepresentative of the industry sectors, trade unions and other interested parties. To begin with, it ignores half of Australia. Of the 18 members, not one comes from Western Australia, South Australia the Northern Territory or Tasmania. All those States, I would have thought, have a keen interest in tourism. As a senator for Tasmania I understand this.

It is interesting to see that six of the 18 representatives come from the Australian Capital Territory. Four of the 18 come from the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Two of those trade union members are from Queensland and two are from Victoria. If we were to have four trade union representatives on a committee of 18 their State distribution could have been better. When we think about the States that are not represented we think of the International Gateway at Perth, the America's Cup and the great strides that that State has made in tourism in recent years. We think of South Australia and the Northern Territory, the Flinders Ranges and Ayers Rock. We think of Kakadu National Park, about which this Government sometimes thinks a lot and sometimes does not think at all. When we think of Tasmania we think of the South West National Park and Port Arthur, the historic site which once again the Government likes to pick up and put down, depending upon when it is politically advantageous to do so.

Leaving the politics of this aside, I am concerned that out of an advisory council of 18 people, which is designed to reflect in a balanced way the interests of the various industry sectors, we have such an unrepresentative group. I query whether this body is really much use. It meets only twice a year. It does not cost the Commonwealth a huge amount of money but I fear that it is really just an extra body which does not serve much good purpose. We have a tourist Ministers council comprising all the tourist Ministers from the States and the Commonwealth, a national tourism committee of States and industry and the Australian Tourist Commission. I query why we need a Tourism Advisory Council of 18 people who come from a small part of the eastern mainland States-six of them from Canberra.