Taking The Good With The Bad In The Victorian Budget

The good news in the Victorian Budget is the significant transformative investment in the State’s public transport system including the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel for which TTF has been a strong advocate.

On the tourism front, the Victorian Government has shown its commitment to championing regional tourism with a new $101 million Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund. This is in addition to a dedicated Regional Events Fund. The Government has also listened to TTF by providing additional funding for business events.

“The Victorian Budget is a step in the right direction to boosting the investment in the visitor economy and that is something that TTF has long been advocating with the Victorian Government,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.

The latest figures confirm that international visitors to Victoria in 2015 increased to 2.42 million (up 14 per cent) and expenditure increased to $6.5 billion (up a record-breaking 30 per cent). Victoria overtook Queensland as the 2nd most popular destination for international visitors in 2015.

While these figures are positive, the Government needs to recognise that Victoria has the potential to achieve much greater results and a key factor in doing so will be making a stronger, longer-term, guaranteed investment in Visit Victoria.

“While the Victorian Government is making all the right sounds on growing the State’s visitor economy, there are some question marks on whether Visit Victoria is being given the long-term resources it needs to be competitive with other Australian States.

“According to the Victorian Budget papers, $38 million is being allocated to Visit Victoria marketing over two years. The NSW Government allocated more than double that amount to Destination NSW in the 2015-16 Budget year alone.

“TTF has been advocating for funding certainty for Visit Victoria since its inception. While the budget provides a number of funds that are accessible to the agency it still doesn’t provide the long term investment certainty that is important to the tourism industry and continued competitiveness of the State.

“We are in the midst of a public transport revolution for Melbourne with the ongoing roll out of commitments to remove the horrendous level-crossings that are the bane of commuters and a handbrake on increasing train services and relieving congestion.

“The Government’s commitment to fully fund the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel is good news for public transport through the CBD by providing much needed additional capacity which TTF has been championing for many years.”