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Wednesday, 19 September 2001
Page: 30989

Mr FITZGIBBON (2:26 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Sport and Tourism. Minister, I also refer to your statement today that the Ansett collapse was just a little blip for the Australian tourism industry. Minister, did you also say the following:

What we're out there doing is saying “the flights are there, the availability is there, the seats are there, don't cancel anything”.

Minister, are you aware that, according to the Queensland Travel Centre, there is just one seat left to Cairns over the whole of the school holiday period that will commence at the end of this month? Given that the flights are not there, the availability is not there and the seats are not there, why won't you stop the denial, face your responsibilities and act now to address the growing tourism crisis?

Miss JACKIE KELLY (Minister for Sport and Tourism) —The Prime Minister and the Minister for Transport and Regional Services have been working overtime to get solutions to the private enterprise collapse of one company in the tourism industry. We are looking at cabotage rights for foreign carriers, we are looking at wet leasing in order to get flights happening, we are looking at Qantas and Virgin ramping up their availability of flights, and we are looking at direct financial assistance to operators to get back the capacity that was there with Ansett. We have been working bloody hard at this, and nothing has stopped our resolve to get that capacity back there. All we hear from the opposition are pretty lame contributions to the debate. There is no bipartisanship on what is a national issue—no bipartisan stance on it at all—but simply Henny Penny.