The Morrison Government axed the position of Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism at the worst possible time for operators still struggling to survive the impacts of last summer’s devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tourism delivers major benefits to Australia’s regional communities.
Tourism Research Australia’s latest State of the Industry report found 44 per cent of tourism spend in Australia for 2018-19 was in regional areas, contributing $57.8 billion to local regional economies.
The report found tourism has “a more significant impact on the economy of regional areas, accounting for 4.1 per cent of GDP and 8.1 per cent of the regional workforce”.
As Australia heads into another bushfire season, with flooding and other wild weather also having an impact, tourism operators in regional areas need more attention and support from their Federal Minister, not less.
New Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan, will have too much on his plate saving exporters and jobs after seven years of failure to diversify the Australian economy.
He is not going to have enough time to give regional tourism the attention it deserves and desperately needs as it seeks to recover from an extremely challenging 2020.
This is yet another example of Scott Morrison’s Liberals talking up their support for regional Australia at the same time as neglecting those Australians in our regions that most need government support.