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Monday, 21 February 2011
Page: 824

Mr ADAMS (7:14 PM) —I am very pleased that the member for Durack got positive towards the end of this contribution, because he was running pretty negative about the price of the dollar. That is a reality and we are not going to go back and fix it at the cabinet table. The dollar is the dollar and we have to deal with it, the tourism industry has to deal with it, and we have to be able to attract people with the price of the dollar as it is. I think the honourable member said he was going to come to Tasmania for a holiday, and I commend him for that; it is a great opportunity for him. We heard the contribution from the former shadow minister for tourism, the member for Moncrieff, who has now landed on the back bench. He was sacked from that position. Back in the Howard days, we had ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’, the greatest failure in the history of tourism campaigns in this country. It was a dismal failure. Where would we be if we had that sort of approach today?

With regard to the training issue, Mr Ciobo, the member for the Gold Coast—

Mr Haase —Moncrieff.

Mr ADAMS —spoke about going back to Work Choices. He wants to cut wages. That is his answer to the tourism industry. This is Liberal policy: to sort out the price of the dollar, the answer is to cut wages and conditions in the tourism sector—or continue to bring people into Australia so they can pay them less instead of providing training. This government is training people in the tourism sector. We want to give any Australian who wants to work in tourism the chance to get a start, get some training, work and have the opportunity of a career in that industry. That is what we should be doing, and that is what this government is doing, something that was totally neglected by the last coalition government.

We need to think about what tourism brings to this country. I understand the value of the industry is about $42 billion per year. This government is giving great support to the industry, and the Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, has come to the electorate of Lyons on many occasions. He is a very great minister. He understands local tourism, not just the big end of the industry, and that it is something you need to build up. The honourable member for Durack should take note of that. I am pleased to hear that in his electorate they are back at it; congratulations to them. I am glad they got through their flooding—

Mr Haase —In Carnarvon.

Mr ADAMS —in Carnarvon. I am very pleased that they are back at it. In Tasmania, 23,000 people, or six per cent of Tasmania’s workforce, are employed in the tourism sector.

I wanted to address some of the issues raised by the member for the Gold Coast. Tourism funding in Australia has not been cut by the Gillard government. That was a total misrepresentation. The budget for Tourism Australia has been retained right across the forward estimates. That can be looked at; it is all there. We are continuing to provide the full support. We provided support during the global financial crisis. We took a decision to bring forward $9 million in Tourism Australia’s budget, which was more than matched by their commercial partners: that $9 million was turned into $20 million to assist the tourism sector. This government is doing what it has to do to support this sector. I am very disappointed by the member for Paterson’s motion before us today.

That decision really gave a boost to the domestic business and leisure travel markets in Australia. During the global financial crisis, when global travel declined by four per cent internationally, Australia’s market remained steady, supported by this government—a remarkable result. So this motion is really off the mark. It does not add up, and nothing that has been said by members on the other side comes together at all. This government supports a strong tourism sector, with good training so that the sector has good, skilled people. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms S Bird)—Order! The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.