The Australian Labor Party announced its Tourism Policy last Saturday 25 June. A key part of the policy is the commitment to appointing a Federal Minister for Tourism, with the portfolio to be included in a new Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. As the Australian economy transitions away from resources and service sectors take on a greater role, it is important that the tourism portfolio be represented at Cabinet level.
From a Victorian perspective, transport infrastructure is central to the Labor Tourism Policy:
- Public transport: $500 million for the Melbourne Metro
- Aviation: designating Avalon airport as a regional airport, separating it from Melbourne and opening it up to further flights for tourism growth in the same way decoupling Gold Coast Airport from Brisbane has grown tourism significantly
- High Speed Rail: creating of a High Speed Rail Authority to progress High Speed Rail up the east coast, which will have stops in Melbourne CBD, Melbourne North, Shepparton and Albury-Wodonga.
- Roads: $510 million to improve efficiency on the Monash Freeway, $356 million to complete the upgrade of the M80 Ringroad, $262 million for works on roads in growth areas of outer Melbourne, including Thompsons Road, O’Hearns Road, Craigieburn Road and Bridge Inn Road, $120 million for a Park and Ride Access Fund to boost car parking capacity at high use train stations, and make funding available for new stations where demand growth is expected.
Other commitments include:
- Visa reforms, which would be reviewed with a view to growing the Chinese market
- Review of the tourist refund scheme, with reforms aimed at streamlining the refund claims process
- Improved passenger facilitation with further rollout of SmartGates at international airports and ports
- Review of the Working Holiday Maker (‘backpacker”) tax
- Re-instating the Survey of Tourism Accommodation
Labor also states its support for the work of Tourism Australia and Tourism Research Australia, and a commitment to ensure these agencies are “adequately resourced”; however specific funding amounts are not given.
To read the Labour Tourism Policy statement in full, visit http://www.100positivepolicies.org.au/labors_positive_plan_for_tourism_fact_sheet
Note: At the time of publication a Coalition tourism policy had not been announced.