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Tuesday, 10 September 1985
Page: 403

(Question No. 392)

Senator Watson asked the Minister representing the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, upon notice, on 31 May 1985:

When will the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism be bringing forward proposals to increase direct assistance to the tourist industry, given that the Ferris Report recommended that tourism no longer be considered eligible for the Export Market Development Grants Scheme because of the difficulty of applying the export performance test to the industry, and that the tourist industry ceased to receive this subsidy on 20 May 1985.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Government announced on 19 June, details of a new scheme, the Tourism Overseas Promotion Scheme (TOPS), designed to encourage the Australian tourism industry to promote its product in overseas markets. The new Scheme, which came into effect on 20 May 1985, will provide assistance to the tourism industry to replace the tourism provisions formerly incorporated in the Export Market Development Grants Scheme (EMDG).

The main new features of TOPS include the introduction of a Validity Test to ensure the Scheme is cost effective and the requirement to obtain prior approval for any overseas promotional activity that is to attract funding under the Scheme.

The Validity Test will take into account other major promotional activities, such as those by the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) and conditions in the overseas markets involved. In this regard the scheme will have the advantages of producing a more co-ordinated and efficient promotion effort and will enable specialist advice to be given to prospective promoters.

The Scheme will be administered by the Department of Sport, Recreation and Tourism in consultation with the Australian Tourist Commission. Transitional arrangements will be made to cope with claims by firms which committed themselves, in good faith, to promotional activities under the former EMDG Scheme prior to its cessation.