Election 2012: LNP promises growth, red tape reduction and senior cabinet role

LNP shadow tourism minister Jann Stuckey said the LNP had a clear and comprehensive strategy to get Queensland tourism back on track.

“On 23 November 2011 our leader Campbell Newman launched the LNP’s 20-year plan designed to get Queensland tourism back on track in terms of economic performance, social development and responsible environmental management. Queensland’s tourism industry had a reputation that was the envy of the rest of Australia. However, for the last two decades, it has suffered under the disgraceful neglect of this tired and lazy 20-year old Labor government.

“The LNP’s tourism strategy is the result of intensive consultation with, and feedback from, peak bodies and individual operators across Queensland together with many discussions with representatives from the broad range of sectors within the industry.

“As I travelled around Queensland two clear messages came from these meetings. First, a lack of confidence in Labor to drive tourism forward and secondly claims of political interference at every level which has prevented growth in jobs, investment and much needed new products.

“Campbell Newman and the LNP have recognised tourism as a vital part of Queensland’s economy by making it one of the 4-pillars, along with agriculture, mining and reconstruction that are required to get our great state back on track.

“The CanDo LNP strategy platform contains short, medium and long term goals. Key commitments include:

• Tourism to be a senior position in cabinet

• Improved decision making and government support for tourism through a whole of government approach.

• Adoption of a growth target to increase overnight visitor expenditure in Queensland to $30 billion by 2020.

• Establishment of an industry first response initiative to provide immediate steps to assist tourism operators.

• Formation of the DestinationQ partnership in the first year of an LNP government to lay out defined actions, set deadlines for these actions and assign them to the various agencies responsible for them.

• Enhance the role of the co-ordinator general to fast track tourism projects.

• Facilitate new infrastructure and investment by establishing a specialised unit within the department for tourism.

“Importantly, the new 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.

“Tourism generates billions for Queensland’s economy annually and directly and indirectly employs nearly 10% of Queenslanders. The LNP has made a commitment to double overnight expenditure by 2020 as we believe tourism’s turnover and employment opportunities would be significantly increased by proper planning and a display of a genuine commitment of support from the government.

“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. This partnership will bring together key ministers, departments, local governments, Tourism Queensland, RTOs, industry associations and operators in a formalised committee framework to move towards achieving the National 2020 Growth Target.

“Regrettably tourism is struggling, through no fault of its own, after being punished by increasing taxes and charges by the Bligh government at a time this key sector could least afford it. Crippling red tape, some 90,000 pages of it have been imposed on the industry by this Labor government. The LNP has pledged to cut unnecessary and ‘nuisance’ regulations to relieve some of this burden.

“One example of these increasing pressures is Labor’s controversial waste levy, which is really just an additional tax, and will add more than $3000 to the costs of running an average sized restaurant. This, together with Labor’s looming carbon tax, are causing enormous anxiety to an already strained and stressed industry.

“The LNP have promised to repeal this waste levy and to oppose Labor’s carbon tax.

“Having consulted with numerous tourism establishments for some 15 years prior to entering politics, I know through first hand experience the hard yards and long hours that must be put in to secure healthy yields. I know of the tight profit margins especially during off-peak periods, the critical ongoing targeted marketing campaigns required, and the importance of great customer service. A little over a decade ago there were 150,000 Queenslanders working in tourism but Labor dropped the ball. Today this figure has fallen to just 118,000 people, some 32,000 less jobs.

“Yes we live in competitive times but Labor’s neglect and failure to adequately fund, understand, and support tourism have added to this decrease. Rather than following the Bligh government’s record of slashing funding and admitting defeat on key growth targets, the LNP plan will significantly increase vital government support for tourism, improve decision making and marketing, to help deliver commonsense and practical outcomes for the industry.”

Shadow minister for tourism, manufacturing and small business Jann Stuckey said the plan will work. It was developed with input from industry stakeholders – many with decades of experience, who voiced their frustration and annoyance with the fact that the Bligh government was ignorant of the industry problems.

The LNP believes Queensland can be the number one Australian tourism destination again through proper planning, good government and closer collaboration with the industry.

“Time’s up for talking, time’s up for politics; it’s time for action. Our plan will help get Queensland back on track and reinvigorate Queensland’s economy.”

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