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Thursday, 16 October 2003
Page: 21653

Mr KING (3:01 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Small Business and Tourism.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER —Order!

The SPEAKER —The member for Reid! The House will come to order.

Mr KING —Would the minister advise the House how the government is helping to boost tourism numbers in Australia, particularly during the Rugby World Cup?

Mr HOCKEY (Minister for Small Business and Tourism) —I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the member for Wentworth on his leadership of the Australian parliamentary rugby team, which won the recent world cup for the first time from New Zealand. It was a great event involving all members of parliament and just a few former Wallabies—they were all part of the squad. The Rugby World Cup is truly a great event for Australia and, importantly, it is a great tourism event for Australia. We are expecting in excess of 40,000 international visitors over the next few weeks and more than 100,000 Australians are travelling interstate for the Rugby World Cup. The event, involving 44 matches, is being held over 40 days. At the same time that we are using this event to broadcast to more than four billion people over 40 days worldwide, the Australian government—through the Australian Tourist Commission—has commissioned additional advertising in key markets such as the United States—

Mr HOCKEY —The member for Hotham has a problem with us advertising Australia offshore; is that right? It is extraordinary.

The SPEAKER —The minister will not respond to interjections and will address his remarks through the chair.

Mr HOCKEY —We believe we should be promoting Australia offshore. Five million visitors come to Australia every year, and it is directly linked to the marketing efforts of the Australian government through the Australian Tourist Commission. We are about trying to encourage more tourists to come to Australia, because it creates jobs in regional Australia and it creates jobs in metropolitan parts of Australia. Significantly, for every visitor that comes to Australia more wealth is created for Australians—and that is great for Australia. We welcome the Rugby World Cup. We want to see the Wallabies win the World Cup. We want to see a greater tourist opportunity for Australia so that we can promote a great country to the rest of the world.

Mr Howard —Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.