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Wednesday, 1 December 1976
Page: 3041

Mr YOUNG (Port Adelaide) -The Opposition welcomes the move by the Government to establish this select committee on tourism. We welcome the recognition by the Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (Mr Howard) that it was moves from this side of the House which brought this committee into being. It has been because of the active participation in this House by the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart) and the honourable member for Robertson (Mr Cohen) that we see some glimmer of hope for the tourist industry. I also pay due respect to the unwanted member of the Cabinet- as he was after the election last yearSenator Peter Rae because of the work he has contributed to the tourist industry of Australia. Nevertheless a number of things regarding the tourist industry have been ignored. We have ignored them for so long that perhaps this select committee can come up with some of the answers. I do not want to take up too much of the time of the House because following me will be honourable members to whose superior knowledge I bow- for example, the former Minister for Tourism and Recreation. It is the intention of the Opposition to move an amendment to paragraph 16 of the motion. In that paragraph the Government proposes that the committee should report as soon as possible. We on this side of the House believe that the date on which the committee should conclude its work should be stipulated.

No shortage of information is available to people interested in the tourist industry. I understand that the honourable member for Lang will go through, item by item, the sorts of documents which have been made available or which were tabled during the period of the Whitlam Government. The recommendations and information made available to the people of Australia and to parliamentarians only need condensing for this committee to bring back a very swift report. A number of difficulties are associated with the tourist industry, and devaluation will not overcome all of them. The tourist industry is still finding it difficult, as are many other industries which depend upon such a large content of female labour, because of the decision taken by our industrial tribunals in relation to equal pay. About 62 per cent of the employees in the tourist industry are females. Obviously, because of the impact of that decision the tourist industry is taking some time to adjust.

Also in Australia we have the unique position where our major international airline is spending its complete budget convincing people why they ought to leave Australia. Perhaps we should look at a combination of the roles of our airlines in the field of advertising. We should look at the roles of Trans-Australia Airlines, Ansett Airlines of Australia and Qantas Airways Ltd. It seems rather ridiculous and a contradiction in terms for us to be looking at the tourist industry while we are contributing so much of the taxpayers' money to convincing those taxpayers that they would have a better time and that their money would be better spent outside this country. Obviously, that sort of thing would lend itself to very close investigation by this committee. I do not think that anybody in this Parliament would commence these hearings believing that any select committee of this Parliament will be successful in persuading all those Australians who might want to travel outside the country that it would be a good thing not to do so. What we need to do is to balance what has been occurring over the last three or four years in order that we can persuade a lot of Australian people who are going overseas on their holidays not for the first time but perhaps for the fifth or sixth time that it may be worth while to have some interest in parts of Australia which are unique by international standards and which would be very worth while seeing.

I believe that a concentration on the importance of tourism inside Australia could bring this about. As I said earlier, there is a multiplicity of reports concerning this matter. There have been reports by the Industries Assistance Commission, the Temporary Assistance Authority and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Investigations have also been undertaken by interdepartmental committees. We are able to obtain all the information concerning this matter quickly. I believe that it would be in the interests of the tourist industry, which has suffered so much recently, for us to be able to stipulate a time when this Parliament would receive a report. It is for that purpose that I move:

That paragraph (16) be amended by omitting the words as soon as possible' and substituting 'no later than 31 May 1977'.

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