LNP unveils plan to get Queensland tourism back on track

23 Nov 2011 3:11 PMJann Stuckey

23 November 2011

LNP Leader Campbell Newman today released a strategy to help get Queensland tourism back on track in economic performance, social development and responsible environmental management.

Launching The ‘CanDo’ LNP Tourism Strategy: The LNP’s plan for returning Queensland’s Tourism industry to Number 1” at the Queensland Tourism Industry Council luncheon Mr Newman said our tourism industry had long been the envy of the rest of Australia. However for the last two decades, it has suffered under the policies of this tired and lazy 20 year old Labor government.

The CanDo strategy’s key commitments include:

• Establish an industry first response to provide immediate steps to assist tourism operators.
• Establish a 2020 Growth Target to increase overnight visitor expenditure in Queensland to $30 billion by 2020.
• Establishing the DestinationQ partnership in the first year of an LNP Government. This will establish defined actions, set deadlines for these actions and assign them to the agencies which are responsible for them.
• Improve decision making and government support for tourism through a whole of government approach.
• Facilitate new infrastructure and investment by establishing a specialised unit within the department for tourism.

The investment attraction unit will engage actively with commercial tourism and hotel agencies; State land management agencies and planning authorities, to support new tourism investment and job creation opportunities.

One of the first priorities of this unit – in partnership with the Brisbane City Council ¬– will be to identify suitable State Government owned land that can be offered competitively for new four and five star hotel development in the CBD. We will use the experience of that exercise to then consider similar opportunities in other key tourism regions.

Tourism generates billions for Queensland’s economy annually and directly and indirectly employs nearly 10 per cent of Queenslanders.

Mr Newman said the LNP believes tourism’s turnover and employment opportunities could be greatly increased by proper planning and a real commitment for support from the Government.

“Regrettably tourism is now struggling through no fault of its own after being hit with increasing taxes and charges by the Bligh Government at a time the sector can least afford it,” he said.

“This Labor Government has also imposed crippling red tape on the sector — and abolished tourism support groups.

“10 years ago there were 150,000 Queenslanders working in tourism, under Labor today this figure has fallen to just 118,000 people.

Labor just doesn’t care. It has never planned ahead — and is now making ad hoc, last minute decisions without listening to tourism operators.

“The LNP’s plan not only addresses this disastrous lack of planning, but it’s adopted the National 2020 Growth Target, and will focus on growing overnight visitor expenditure in Queensland to $30 billion by 2020.”

“Pulling all the key elements of the policy together is the DestinationQ partnership which will be established in the first year of an LNP Government,” Mr Newman said.

“This partnership will bring together key ministers, departments, local governments, Tourism Queensland, RTOs and industry associations and operators in a forum to work together on achieving the National 2020 Growth Target.

“Rather than following the Bligh government strategy of slashing funding,  and claiming that meeting key growth targets is all too hard – under the LNP plan there will be increased Government support for tourism, improved decision making and marketing to help deliver real practical outcomes for the industry.”

Mr Newman said the plan would help ensure the success of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.

“The Commonwealth Games will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase Queensland and we must not waste this. We only get one crack at this so we must plan ahead and ensure we deliver.”

Shadow Minister for Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business Jann Stuckey said the plan had come about because the industry was crying out for help.

“One example of the increasing pressures is Labor’s ‘green’ initiative waste levy, which is really just another tax, and will add more than $3,000 to the costs of running  an average sized restaurant,” Ms Stuckey said.

The LNP says Queensland can be one of the world’s premier tourism destinations through good planning and encouraging the industry to grow and flourish.

“This will also help get Queensland back on track as tourism is one of the four pillars a CanDo LNP Government will grow to reinvigorate Queensland’s economy,” Mr Newman said.