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Where the bloody hell is Rudd on tourism?

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

The Rudd Labor Government is showing its disregard for tourism by remaining stony silent on issues crippling the industry like high fuel costs, increased tourism taxes and rolling stoppages by Qantas engineers, Shadow Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo said.

''Qantas said 29 flights have been cancelled today and 14 tomorrow, as a result of strike action this week by engineers, organised by the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), which is not only hurting the airline, but affecting passengers and tourism businesses,'' Mr Ciobo said.

''Where the bloody hell is Mr Rudd on this issue? These strikes by Qantas engineers have been going on for weeks now at the direction of the ALAEA, and now the Transport Workers Union is looking at starting an industrial campaign against Qantas too.

''So we have two unions and a complete vacuum of leadership by the Rudd Labor Government when it comes to this very important industry. We have no comment, just stony silence from Labor. It's time we had some leadership.

''It's clear the union movement has regained control of the Rudd Labor Government in the six months since being elected, with industrial disputation at the same level in one quarter as it was for the entire last year of the Coalition Government.

''The biggest 'rolled gold disaster' for this country is, in fact, the Rudd Labor Government. Labor is showing an absolute disregard for our tourism sector at a time of crisis, especially by slugging the industry with nearly one billion dollars of new tourism taxes just last month.

''The Prime Minister has a lot of explaining to do to those in tourism, one of Australia's biggest employers, by failing to show any leadership whatsoever in trying to protect the industry from what some say are the biggest challenges the industry has faced in some thirty or forty years.

''We know the airlines are doing it tough with record high fuel prices. Rudd Labor has failed to reduce prices despite its many promises, and as a result airlines are cutting back services, which of course, have a flow-on effect to local tourism businesses.

''Jobs are being axed due to the growing pressures on tourism businesses including the new tourism taxes Mr Rudd introduced this year.

''Until the Federal Government takes leadership on these very important issues affecting tourism, the industry will continue to suffer.''