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Tourism strategy committee brings together experience.



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Thu, 3rd July 2008 TOURISM STRATEGY COMMITTEE BRINGS TOGETHER EXPERIENCE

Steven Ciobo MP Shadow Minister for Small Business, the Service Economy & Tourism

Shadow Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo has welcomed the membership of the new steering committee which will guide the development of Australia's national tourism strategy, but said it shows Labor has no clear policy on tourism.

''I certainly have confidence in the committee. I certainly do not have confidence in the Federal Tourism Minister,'' Mr Ciobo said.

''There's a plethora of knowledge and experience within the committee which will help drive the national tourism agenda for the government.

''We have seen Labor drifting for months now. It is clear Labor does not have a policy for tourism and are now relying on a committee to develop one for them.

''We're only five years into the Coalition's Tourism White Paper, which was a ten-year strategy to strengthen the competitiveness of the Australian tourism sector within the global market.

''Does this mean the Tourism White Paper, a Coalition initiative announced in 2003 and ''fully supported'' by Mr Rudd, is now out the door?

''What policies are going to be in place for the tourism industry over the next twelve months while the committee develops options for the government to consider?

''Tourism is one of Australia's biggest employers and is facing turbulent times. Mr Rudd must not turn his back on the tourism industry while he finds his feet. The industry cannot afford incompetency. A policy framework for tourism should already be in place.

''The tourism industry has been hit hard with almost $1 billion of new tourism taxes since the election of the Rudd Labor Government and record high fuel costs, which are forcing airlines to cut back services. This is having a flow-on effect to tourism businesses.

''My biggest concern is what Labor has in place for tourism over the next twelve months while this committee comes up with some direction for the government. The next twelve months are absolutely critical for tourism, but from what we know, Labor has no clear strategy.''