Bittersweet budget for tourism & transport sectors

The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has welcomed the nation-wide investment in big-ticket transport infrastructure projects in the Federal Government’s 2018-19 Budget, but said the Government has missed a golden opportunity to reap the benefits from substantially increasing its funding for Tourism Australia.

“After what can only be described as a disappointing budget for the tourism sector last year, there will be some relief across the sector tonight with $140 million to secure Australia’s position as one of the world’s leading film production destinations, $45 million in regional tourism grants and a big commitment to deliver badly needed infrastructure projects right across the country,” TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said.

“While the additional $5.1 million for Tourism Australia over the next four years is welcome after last year’s cuts, major infrastructure projects are just as important as marketing dollars in growing our visitor economy.

“Prior to the Federal Budget, TTF called on the Government to deliver targeted investment in transport infrastructure projects to ensure that Australian cities are able to meet the mobility challenges of the future as well as continue to be a drawcard to visitors the world over.

“Overcoming the problems caused by growth and congestion requires transformative infrastructure investment, and this budget has delivered congestion-busting projects right across Australia, including through the $1 billion Urban Congestion Fund.

“From the $1.05 billion for the Perth Metronet, to the $1.75 billion for the North-East link motorway in Melbourne, to the to the $971 million for the Coffs Harbour bypass, the Federal Government is investing in projects that will transform our cities and regions and improve the visitor experience.

“While it is disappointing there is no funding for Queensland’s most critical infrastructure project, the Cross River Rail, TTF welcomes the $1 billion allocated for extra lanes on the M1 between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, $3.3 billion towards continuing the upgrades of Queensland’s Bruce Highway and $300 million to ensure the Brisbane Metro will go ahead.”

Ms Osmond said that while the $5 billion commitment to help build the long-overdue rail link between Melbourne and the CBD was very welcome, the onus will now be on the Victorian Government to match the commitment to ensure construction can begin.

“TTF also welcomes the $294 million investment to strengthen aviation, air cargo and international mail security, including $50.1 million to enhance security arrangements at 64 regional airports and $122 million to enhance screening capability for inbound air cargo and international mail with new and upgraded equipment and advanced technology.”