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Wednesday, 19 September 2001
Page: 30991


Mr CREAN (2:36 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Sport and Tourism. Minister, I refer to your statement that the Ansett crisis is `just a little blip' and that the problems are only `coming from commentators' and they are just `anecdotal'. Minister, is that still your view, or do you now acknowledge the real crisis facing the Australian tourism industry? If so, what will be the impact on that industry of the new tax you have proposed to impose upon it, the only initiative so far flagged by this government in relation to this matter?


Miss JACKIE KELLY (Minister for Sport and Tourism) —All I can take from that question is that somehow the ALP opposes the payments to the Ansett workers.

Opposition members interjecting—


Mr SPEAKER —The minister is entitled to be heard in silence, as are all other members.



Mr SPEAKER —The member for McMillan is warned.


Miss JACKIE KELLY —This government has secured entitlements for workers in situations such as what has happened with Ansett—which is a lot more than was done in the 13 years under Labor. How many companies did we see go to the wall in the late eighties and early nineties, and how many of them were paid their entitlements? We have been working strong and hard—



Mr SPEAKER —The Manager of Opposition Business clearly does not believe that the Speaker has authority. He is now warned!


Miss JACKIE KELLY —We have 70 to 80 leaders from the tourism industry at our annual summit here in Canberra, and they have heard from many ministers on this side. We are engaged in debate and we are setting up a working party to start quantifying—


Mr Crean —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order and it goes to relevance. My question is: what is the impact of this new tax on the tourism industry? She won't answer it.


Mr SPEAKER —The minister is being entirely relevant, and she will continue.


Miss JACKIE KELLY —This working party will be working with me on a daily basis over the next few weeks and will report directly to the Prime Minister. And I know one thing: that working party will not be coming to the government and saying, `We want higher interest rates,' they will not be saying, `We want inflation,' and they will not be saying, `We want a government budget that is so badly blown out'—as it was in 1996—`that we have horrific bank interest rates.' We are at a time when we need good, solid, steady governance and guidance through an issue. May I remind the opposition that, at the moment, the Australian Tourist Commission is at record levels of funding when the states around the country—for all their rhetoric about how much money they will put on the table—have cut funding to tourism marketing by $10 million.