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Friday, 5 October 1984
Page: 1768

Mr KEOGH —The Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism will be aware no doubt of the importance of the tourist industry to my electorate which includes the Moreton Bay islands and the Redlands Shire. Is it a fact that the Australian Tourist Commission is currently involved in an intensive advertising campaign in the United States of America and that this campaign is aimed at attracting more Americans to holiday in Australia? Can the Minister inform the House of the likely impact of this campaign on the Australian economy?

Mr Shipton —Tell us why Club Med is not coming because of penalty rates, while you are at it.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I suggest the honourable member take up the queries about Club Med with the Minister outside the chamber. The Minister already has a question to answer. I call the Minister.

Mr JOHN BROWN —I can deal with the honourable member for Higgins if he can sit there and suffer the embarrassment. I think it is fair to say that since this Government has been in office the tourism industry has found its proper place in Australia's commercial atmosphere. It always was the biggest industry in Australia, but the previous Government did not have the wit to recognise it. In 20 months we have turned what is the biggest industry in Australia, albeit the most fragmented, into what is now a co-ordinated, impressive, co-operative and profitable industry, the biggest in Australian employing something like 400,000 people. I do not know whether the shadow Minister has yet recovered from the embarrassment he suffered a week or so ago when he attended the first annual tourism awards which were held in Sydney. He had to sit there and suffer the ignominy of the remarks of speaker after speaker. I refer in particular to someone very closely attached to the National Party in another State. He observed that, having spent a life in the tourism industry and having seen what has happened to it in the last 18 months to two years, he hoped that this Government stayed in power for the next 20 years. He well realised how the industry was ignored by the previous incumbents.

Mr Hawke —Who said that?

Mr JOHN BROWN —I cannot say; I do not want to embarrass the man.

Mr Sinclair —We have a different story in Queensland.

Mr JOHN BROWN —I do not know. Every time I go to Queensland I am almost embarrassed at the sorts of functions I have to attend at having members of other political parties making the same statements. In the last Budget we introduced a faster depreciation rate to help the production of more hotels, motels--

Mr Shipton —Tell us about penalty rates.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I warn the honourable member for Higgins. The honourable member for Casey will cease interjecting.

Mr Steedman —I have not been interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER —I warn the honourable member for Casey. I call the Minister.

Mr JOHN BROWN —The Treasurer has passed me a note reminding me of the fact that we increased the depreciation rate on tourist buildings from 2.5 per cent to 4 per cent in the recent Budget. The good news that I am giving the House now about the amount of development going on in Australia at the minute will be even greater when the change makes its full impact. At present there are $7,000m- worth of tourist developments going on in Australia-hotels, motels and resorts- which is an enormous turnaround in that very short period. These developments in fact account for 220,000 man years in the construction stage and 42,000 permanent jobs at the finish of the construction stage, which says something about how this industry is going.

The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations was talking yesterday about increases in the labour force and the new jobs created in Australia. I am very proud to tell you, Mr Speaker, that the tourist industry has accounted for 40,000-odd new jobs in 18 months, which is far and away the best result of any industry in Australia. I defy anybody in this House to find any other industry that has this capacity. All it needed was a government like this to co-ordinate this industry. We now have the very happy spectacle of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments of differing political colours and the industry all pulling together as they are in this advertising thrust now going on in the United States.

I come to the specifics of the question of the honourable member for Bowman who has a very deep interest in and knowledge of the tourism industry, particularly as his electorate includes the very pleasant resort of Moreton Island. We now have Paul Hogan, the ambassador of culture, operating for us in the United States of America. I received a telex today from the United States telling me that in the one month period over which this campaign has been running on the East Coast the advertisement has produced a response of 100,000-odd calls on the toll line. One hundred thousand East Coast residents have rung up wanting the book on Australia. Of course, the cynics will say: 'So what'. I will tell them what the survey also shows. Information supplied to me by International Airlines in the United States is that more than half of those respondents will travel to Australia within the next five years. So we will have 50,000 new visitors coming to Australia.

Mr Shipton —Ha, ha!

Mr JOHN BROWN —The shadow Minister laughs. The shadow Minister should realise--

Mr Shipton —I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek the guidance of the Chair. The Minister constantly refers to me. I am under a warning from you, unable to interject. I ask for your--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order. That is quite right; you are under a warning from me. I suggest that the Minister should avoid provoking the honourable member.

Mr Shipton —Mr Speaker, I ask you to withdraw the warning to give me a free rein to meet the Minister--

Mr SPEAKER —No, there is no way--

Mr JOHN BROWN —The honourable member is a joke in the small business area and a joke in this area, and the quicker he realises it the better.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I ask the Minister to continue with the answer.

Mr Shipton —Mr Speaker, on a point of order, I have great respect for you. I am under warning and I accept that but the Minister is constantly provoking me without giving me the opportunity to reply.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will resume his seat.

Mr SPEAKER —I remind honourable members that their opportunity to take part in the proceedings of the House is when they get the call from the Chair. I suggest to the Minister that perhaps he round off his answer and cease provoking the honourable member.

Mr JOHN BROWN —Out of a sense of mercy I will no longer refer to him. The 50,000 extra visitors that we will get out of this one-month advertising campaign will mean something like $50m extra revenue if they spend only $1,000 each, and of course they will spend more than that. To sum up, the advertising campaign we have run has been an absolutely spectacular success. Paul Hogan is now a superstar in America, as he should well be for a man of his sophistication, culture, personality and great Australian characteristics. He has now become a cult figure in the United States and we are very lucky that he has provided all of this service for us for nothing. We have been very lucky to have the services of this very great Australian. Now 40,000 kids in Australia have jobs that they might not have had had we not been able to get the services of Paul Hogan, for one thing, and had the Government not had the good wit to bolster a good industry.