Tourism targeted as Northern Australia’s next super-growth sector

The Federal Opposition’s commitment to inject $1 billion into a Northern Australia Tourism Infrastructure Fund if elected will ensure the tourism industry can reach its potential to be the region’s next super-growth sector, the Tourism & Transport Forum said today.

TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said Labor’s announcement today it remains committed to last year’s pledge to establish the fund recognised the critical importance of tourism to Northern Australia’s economic and employment growth.

“Tourism is the most effective and sustainable way to support Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia as they transition and diversify from a post-mining boom economy,” Ms Osmond said.

“Tourism truly is the hope of the side in Northern Australia in terms of job creation and ongoing development.

“We need to supercharge Northern Australia with continued, targeted investment by state and federal governments, and this commitment is a very welcome first step.

“As part of this commitment to Northern Australia, TTF would also like to see a focus on Indigenous employment and entrepreneurship through the Concessional Loans Scheme, to boost investment and jobs growth in this critical and iconic part of the world.

“Governments at all levels cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to supporting the growth of the tourism sector.

“Much of Australia’s tourism growth in recent years is due to the rise of the middle class in China, but we are at risk of the sector not realising its full potential with successive governments’ unfortunately failing to invest in the tourism infrastructure needed to support its growth. This Fund will make cash available to help address these needs.

“Tourism is particularly crucial to the growth of the Queensland economy, generating $27.7 billion in consumption as well as directly contributing around $11.2 billion to total Gross State Product and employing more than 135,000 people across the state.

“Tourism is the number one economic issue in Queensland and should be the centrepiece of the upcoming state election.

“Shadow Tourism Minister Anthony Albanese must be congratulated for his long-standing support of the tourism sector and to growing tourism in Northern Australia.”