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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2502

Great Barrier Reef


Mr LLEW O'BRIEN (Wide Bay) (14:33): My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Will the minister update the House on what recent research says about the value of the Great Barrier Reef to Australia's tourism industry? What action has the government taken to protect the reef so that Australians and visitors alike can enjoy its serenity?


Mr CIOBO (MoncrieffMinister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) (14:33): I thank the member for Wide Bay for his question. We are very focused on making sure that Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef is enjoyed by international and domestic tourists from around world and from around Australia. There are very few examples that reach the same iconic status as Australia's Great Barrier Reef. We know that people will go to great lengths to visit Australia's Great Barrier Reef, because it really is a drawcard to bring them there. I was particularly pleased there has been a whole-of-government approach to making sure that we look after the Great Barrier Reef. The minister for the environment recently announced a $60 million investment to secure the viability of the reef and make sure that we protect it in the future. I'm very pleased that it's part of our $2 billion Reef 2050 Plan, because we take very seriously the need to ensure that we protect and look after the reef, and we recognise that the Great Barrier Reef is responsible for many, many jobs. We know that this campaign is working. We are welcoming a record number of tourists, who are staying a record amount of time and spending a record amount of money.

As a coalition, we're providing record funding to Tourism Australia. As part of our Tourism Australia campaign, we're seeing that there are a lot of tourists very interested in going to the Great Barrier Reef. I took the time to have a bit of a look at some of the specials that are online. There are some great prices for tourists wanting to visit the Great Barrier Reef. For those members who are interested, you can get a flight from Melbourne to Cairns with Qantas for $285, you can stay at the Cairns Shangri-La for $205 a night, and you can't go past a visit to the Great Barrier Reef with Wavelength Reef Cruises for $239.50. But I have to say that I've found a website that offers even cheaper prices than those that I've found online. It's not Webjet and it's not Flight Centre; it's actually aph.gov.au/register. On that site you can find some links to some fantastic specials, and the Leader of the Opposition can get the best price possible for a visit to the Great Barrier Reef.

But let's not forgot that he not only got a hotel upgrade, a private jet to the Great Barrier Reef and enjoyed a personal tour of the reef; he did so at the expense of Geoff Cousins. People can rightly say, 'We know this guy didn't pay anything, but surely there was a price.' I'm afraid to say that there was a very hefty price indeed. That's the price that will be paid by the blue-collar workers in our coal industry—the people that this guy will sell out all day, every day. He gets his free snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef and his free private jet and he pretends that he's a mate of the coal workers, but the simple fact is that the Leader of the Opposition and the Australian Labor Party have sold out Australia's workers. (Time expired)

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The members for Moreton and Perth are warned.