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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr Stewart (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Industry and Commerce, upon notice:

(1)   Did Federal and State Tourist Ministers at a recent meeting of the Tourist Ministers ' Council express the conviction that Government investment in the Tourist Industry was sound and that such investment was essential if the current imbalance between outbound and inbound tourism was to be removed.

(2   ) What is the present level of imbalance.

(3)   What specific objectives based on economic, social and public interest concepts were agreed to by the Tourist Ministers ' Council.

(4)   When will the Minister be able to announce details of Commonwealth financial assistance for the development and promotion of tourism into and within Australia.

Mr Howard -The Minister for Industry and Commerce has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Yes- the Tourist Ministers' Council agreed that the tourist and travel industry in Australia currently oners opportunity for growth, development and expansion. Governments at all levels, but particularly the States, are one source of provision of the necessary infrastructure, facilities and services from which a viable industry can develop. Industry must also be prepared to take up the available investment opportunities and government policies are being directed to improving the economic climate so that such decisions can be made more readily and with greater certainty.

(2)   The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recently revised its travel debit and credit estimates for the year ended 30 June 1976 and as set out in their balance of payments bulletin released 3 November 1 976, the imbalance between inbound and outbound travel for this period was $264m. This amends the previous estimate of $292m.

(3)   The following objectives were agreed to by the Tourist Ministers ' Council:

(a)   The development of a viable and efficient tourist industry in Australia.

An economic concept that includes Governments' overall objectives and optimises the use of available resources. It envisages a dynamic tourist industry component of the total economy, containing a balanced mix of enterprises, supported by Government provided infrastructure, the whole existing at levels responding sensitively to growth and changes in demand.

(b)   The development of a range and quality of tourism opportunities appropriate to the needs of residents of and visitors to Australia.

A social concept that expresses Governments' desire to induce the development of a structure of tourist facilities and services designed to meet people's needs for leisure recreation consistent with their desire for an improved quality of life.

(c)   Achievement of the above with due regard to the natural and social environment of Australia.

This is a public interest concept providing for the control and regulation of tourist activity, so that the rights of individuals and groups are safeguarded, one against the other, and resources are preserved, as considered desirable, for the common good and for future generations.

(4)   As announced in the 1976-77 Budget $3m has been allocated to the Australian Tourist Commission during the current year for the promotion of tourism into Australia. The promotion of tourism within Australia is primarily a matter for the States and Territories. The 1 976-77 Budget also made provision for a sum of $833,000 to meet outstanding commitments under the grants scheme for the development of tourist attractions.

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