Winston Churchill, Homer Simpson and the never ending Federal Election

The non-result of the Federal Election reminds me of the musings of two great political giants of the 20th century – the British wartime leader Winston Churchill who said “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried”, and the 36 year old political philosopher Homer Simpson who said “The waiting game sucks! Let’s play hungry, hungry hippos!”

And so we wait for the slow count of ballot papers to determine whether the Turnbull Coalition Government will scrape back in with the barest of majorities or whether the wheeling and dealing with the crossbenchers to form a minority government will begin. One thing is for certain, we are in for quite a ride.

Regardless of the outcome, TTF will be ready to work with the new Government and the crossbenchers in both houses to support a stronger visitor economy as we continue our advocacy campaign that we set out in the TTF Federal Election Manifesto – investing in destination marketing, slashing visa fees, curbing the Passenger Movement Charge, building visitor infrastructure and public transport, and improving the visitor experience at the border.

While the count continues, the pulse of tourism beats on with the NSW Government today announcing an overhaul of its regional and rural NSW tourism strategy. The NSW Government will invest $43 million over the next four years in six new Destination Networks – Riverina Murray, Southern NSW, North Coast, Country & Outback, Sydney Surrounds North and Sydney Surrounds South – that will work closely with tourism organisations, industry, Destination NSW and Government to re-energise tourism campaigns to attract more visitors.

The new Destination Networks deliver on a key recommendation of the 2012 NSW Visitor Economy Taskforce Report. The NSW Government and the Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres are to be congratulated on reforming regional and rural tourism into a modern and dynamic structure that will work more effectively with key stakeholders. We need to take a bigger picture approach to how we campaign and market regional and rural NSW and that’s what these six new Destination Networks should help to deliver.

It’s NAIDOC Week and that is always an important reminder of the need to reflect on our Indigenous Australians, their rich cultural and spiritual history and their achievements as a proud and resilient people. The visitor economy, more than many other industries, has a good story to tell about developing entrepreneurial opportunities for indigenous Australians with a growing international interest in nature-based and indigenous tourism. There is so much more that we can do to strengthen our indigenous communities and to close that massive gap that still exists on so many key indicators.

We can always do better.