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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
Tourism Australia

Tourism Australia


CHAIR: We apologise for the lateness. I have some questions Tourism Australia, but I will put them on notice.

Senator STEPHENS: Thank you so much for hanging till the last five minutes—that is pretty amazing. I wanted to briefly touch on the Commission of Audit's recommendations. Can you tell us first of all whether or not the Commission of Audit consulted with Tourism Australia?

Mr O'Sullivan : I will have to take that on notice. My apologies for that, but I have only been in the job now for eight weeks so I was not actually in the chair during the course of the consultation period for the Commission of Audit—if you allow me to do that.

Senator STEPHENS: Yes. Are you aware that the Commission of Audit actually recommended that Tourism Australia's funding be halved?

Mr O'Sullivan : Yes, I am aware of the Commission of Audit's recommendations.

Senator STEPHENS: For the record, can you tell us what is the total resourcing for Tourism Australia in 2013-14?

Mr O'Sullivan : For 2013-14 or for 2014-15?

Senator STEPHENS: For the year 2013-14 and in the current budget 2014-15.

Mr O'Sullivan : For the year 2013-14, the total resource available for Tourism Australia is $142.8 million. For the 2014-15 financial year it is $143.3 million.

Senator STEPHENS: So what does that represent? That is the net resourcing for the whole of Tourism Australia?

Mr O'Sullivan : That funding is broken down into two parts. In 2014-15 it represents $129.8 million in the government appropriation and $13.5 million from the Asian marketing fund.

Senator STEPHENS: The minister, Mr Robb, made public comments on 12 May that the budget would be increased, saying that an extra $50 million would be pumped into a grants scheme that would help small operators sell themselves into international markets. Where is that $50 million reflected in the appropriation?

Mr O'Sullivan : We are not responsible for grant funding, so I will direct that question to my colleague Mr Gosper.

Senator STEPHENS: So that would be in Austrade?

Mr Gosper : That would be the Export Market Development Grants scheme, I believe.

Senator STEPHENS: That is what that refers to? Thank you.

Senator EDWARDS: I will put other questions on notice. In the two minutes that we have left, could you just provide us with a brief update on Restaurant Australia please.

Mr O'Sullivan : With pleasure. Restaurant Australia is Tourism Australia's latest iteration of the 'There's Nothing Like Australia' marketing campaign. It is designed specifically to target international visitors for food and wine experiences throughout the country. Interestingly, this campaign is actually built around three premises. It is built around our people involved in the industry, our places and also our produce. So it is actually much more than restaurant and cafe dining. This goes into operations of businesses such as wineries, food and wine tours and experiential opportunities.

Senator EDWARDS: Regions?

Mr O'Sullivan : It goes into regional Australia very extensively and it goes throughout the country. This is broader than just tourism. This is about hospitality, this is about agriculture and this is about a number of other sectors which intersect with the tourism sector. This is a campaign that is designed to target a very high-yielding tourist. In the year 2013 these tourists spent in excess of $4 billion in Australia. Our objective is really to grow the perception of Australia as a food and wine destination internationally.

Our research, that we conduct quite extensively internationally, shows us that food and wine perceptions of Australia by those people who have not actually been to the country are actually quite low—about 26 per cent of people who have not been to Australia recognise our food and wine contribution. That actually rises to over 60 per cent once they have been here. And many markets, such as India, China, the United States and the United Kingdom—and interestingly enough, France and Italy—actually rate our food and wine offering, once they have been here, as the best in the world.

At the moment we are working with industry, the states and territories and the tourism organisations really to help them and to help us tell the story internationally about food and wine experiences throughout the country.

Senator EDWARDS: I look forward to hearing some more from you, and I will put the rest of my questions to Tourism Australia on notice. I look forward to hearing and seeing some good results.

Ms Lewis : My apologies, Chair. I just wanted to correct something for the record in a response I gave to Senator Brown. I said that the funding for the international visitor survey and the national visitor survey went into the special account. In fact, they are appropriated to the division. My apologies for that.

CHAIR: Thank you for correcting that. It has now reached 11 o'clock—

Senator FAWCETT: Chair, before you go any further: just on behalf of the committee I would like to recognise that it is the last Senate estimates for you and for the deputy chair—which you have probably been told so many times, but the committee has not yet thanked you! So on behalf of the committee, thank you for the leadership you have shown and for your contributions over many years to the foreign affairs, trade and defence interests of Australia.

Senator STEPHENS: Thanks, David.

CHAIR: Thank you very much.

Senator Brandis: Yes—Senator Eggleston and Senator Stephens: can I associate the government with those sentiments? There will, obviously, be a much grander occasion to utter valedictory felicitations to you in the chamber, but on the adjournment of the last Senate estimates committee I want to associate the government and myself personally with Senator Fawcett's remarks.

Senator STEPHENS: Thank you very much.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. We hereby close this meeting.

Senator STEPHENS: Thanks, Hansard!

Committee adjourned at 23 : 01