Give FNQ fair shake of tourism funding

Tuesday December 10th 2013

Give FNQ fair shake of tourism funding

Local tourism identity and Labor pre-selection aspirant Michael Healy says Far North Queensland “are not getting a fair shake” with tourism funding compared to the Gold Coast.

Mr Healy was responding to comments made by Member for Cairns Gavin King on Friday.

“In relation to Newman Government funding in the Cairns region when compared to the Gold Coast, Mr King’s comments completely disregard a $15 million announcement for the Gold Coast made a couple of months ago,” Mr Healy said.

“On the 8 October Premier Campbell Newman announced the funding and said: 'Our theme parks rank among the very best in the world, and are must-do experiences for any holiday on the Gold Coast.'"

The Queensland Government put in $10 million dollars - funnelled through Gold Coast Tourism - to assist in this theme park campaign, and the theme park companies collectively contributed $5 million dollars.

“I acknowledge that the likes of Dreamworld, White Water World, Seaworld, Wet 'n' Wild and Movie World are important in terms of Gold Coast – indeed Queensland Tourism.

"But yet again, Cairns and Far North Queensland are not getting a fair shake when it comes to funding to support our important tourism sector compared with the Gold Coast.”

Mr Healy said there were a couple of very concerning aspects to this announcement.

“Firstly, the State’s peak Tourism Body, Tourism Events Queensland, weren’t engaged or consulted during this process.

“What does it say to you when this Government doesn’t even consult its peak tourism body to do a deal with some of the wealthiest theme parks in Queensland?

“Is this ‘corporate welfare’ a response to Village Roadshow having donated $75,000 to the LNP in the first half of 2012?

“Secondly, Gavin King was either not aware of the announcement or he has deliberately omitted the funding when spruiking his credentials last week. Either way, Mr King clearly is on the outer when it comes to delivering tourism outcomes for this region.

“The Aussie Dollar dropping below parity has had far more of an impact on tourism than Gavin King has.

“We shouldn’t forget too that while the LNP has trumpeted nine new air services flying into Queensland as successes of their $8 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, eight of the nine services fly into SEQ Airports and only one has flown  into Cairns, and it recently suspended it operations.

“Gavin King has already been criticised for trying to claim credit for China Eastern’s Cairns flights but negotiations were well in train by the time Labor lost government.”