Halving Tourism Australia’s funding would be devastating for an industry that employs 900,000 people nationally, the federal opposition says.
Fewer travellers will head Down Under if tourism funding is cut, the federal opposition’s industry spokesman has warned.
The National Commission of Audit report recommends halving funding for Tourism Australia (TA) because, it says, the department’s benefits aren’t obvious.
It also supports cutting regional tourism grants.
Shadow minister for tourism Anthony Albanese has warned that if the Abbott Liberal government goes ahead with the cuts, the impact on the tourism industry, especially in struggling regions like far north Queensland, would be devastating.
“We know that tourism creates 900,000 jobs nationally and yet we have a proposition of cutting tourism funding in half,” he told media in Cairns on Friday.
“[TA] will lose the expertise and essentially have just a few bureaucrats running the tourism agenda for Australia.”
Mr Albanese said the audit was an example of the government’s short-sightedness.
“If you have a series of cuts such as the cuts to tourism then that will lower future economic growth … you are cutting off your nose to spite your face,” he said.
National industry body Tourism and Transport Forum has said cutting funding to TA would dramatically impact business, local jobs and investment prospects for Australia.
“Tourism Australia’s work is helping the tourism industry deliver $42.3 billion in direct GDP each year,” chief executive Ken Morrison said in a statement.
“While there are a number of constructive suggestions in this report, halving Tourism Australia funding is not one of them.”