NSW Budget an opportunity to maintain mantle as the premier tourism and transport state

The NSW Government must seize the opportunity to keep growing the State’s booming visitor economy with increased investment across the tourism and transport sectors in next week’s 2018-19 State Budget, the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) said today.

TTF Chief Executive, Margy Osmond, said that with continued targeted investment by the Berejiklian Government, tourism will remain a super-growth industry and ensure that NSW remains a great place to live and to visit into the future.

“NSW has fought hard in recent years to retain its crown as the nation’s largest visitor economy with strong investment in the sector in the past few budgets,” Ms Osmond said.

“However, with ever-increasing competition from States and Territories who are recognising the importance of tourism to their economies, NSW must not take its position at the top for granted and continue to invest to support the growth of the sector.

“Tourism is crucial to the growth of the NSW economy, generating $40.5 billion in consumption and directly employing more than 171,000 people across the state.

“To ensure NSW realises the full potential of its visitor economy, the government must invest in tourism infrastructure, enhance nature-based tourism experiences, promote regional tourism, and support the growth of the NSW cruise shipping by providing long-term certainty around planning and investment for the cruise industry.

“Most importantly, however, the Berejiklian Government must maintain funding for Destination NSW to ensure that NSW remains in a prime position to capitalise on the current record levels of domestic and international tourism into the future.”

Ms Osmond said TTF’s pre-budget statement released today urged the NSW Government to also invest in critical road and public transport infrastructure projects and increase transport services across the State.

“Targeted investment in road and public transport infrastructure projects is critical to ensuring that NSW is able to meet the challenge of future population growth, particularly in Western Sydney, and is able to minimise the future costs of congestion which without targeted investment is expected to increase from $5.5 billion in 2011 to $14.7 billion by 2031,” Ms Osmond said.

“At the top of the list must be a commitment to fast-track funding and deliver an ironclad timeline for Stage 2 of the Parramatta Light Rail project, linking Camellia to Strathfield via Sydney Olympic Park and to deliver a timeline and funding for the critical Sydney Metro West project.

“Journeys between Sydney Airport and the CBD are often a visitor’s first and last experience of Australia and it is critical that visitors and locals alike can access Sydney Airport in a timely manner.

“To complement recent additional rail services to the CBD, TTF recommends that the NSW Government also increase bus services to the airport to support areas currently without direct rail access.

“Investment in integrated transport options is also vital to support economic growth and to increase visitor numbers across NSW by encouraging greater regional dispersal.

“Increased investment in regional rail and road infrastructure, along with better facilities and more reliable services, will encourage visitors to leave the city and explore some of our world-class regional destinations such as the North Coast, Southern Highlands, Broken Hill and the Blue Mountains.”