Flaws seen in tourism business plan
A $13.6 million boost to tourism in the north has been announced by the Federal Government in response to the Northern Australia White Paper.
The Northern Australia Tourism Initiative will provide one-onone business advice via a team of five experts for businesses with a turnover or operating expenditure of $750,000 or more from mid-2016.
Regional Development Australia Pilbara chief executive Diane Pentz said the policy should be celebrated; however the turnover cap might limit its benefit in the Pilbara.
“In the Pilbara it inhibits those who are trying to get into the tourism industry so we would like to see that cap lowered,” she said.
“What (the experts) are going to be doing is working closely with RDA to make sure we put them in touch with the right people … to make sure there’s no stone unturned in getting the message out there and supporting the tourism providers.
“It provides cash, it provides access to funds and it provides impetus for businesses who want to expand.”
Ms Pentz said funding and opportunities for emerging tourism businesses in the Pilbara needed to be explored further.
Federal Tourism Minister Richard Colbeck said the initiative would help northern Australia capitalise on growth in the tourism market.
“It will encourage more tourists to visit our spectacular rural and regional areas which will bring widespread benefits to local communities, including jobs,” he said.
“I am particularly eager to see growth in indigenous tourism — to support employment while retaining connection to country.”
Small Business Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said the ASBAS program would also be extended and tailored for small tourism businesses in northern Australia.
Established not-for-profit small business advisory services can now apply for funding through the Australian Small Business Advisory Services program to increase their capacity to provide low cost advice to tourism small businesses in northern Australia.
Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Christohper Pyne said the north had untapped potential, abundant natural beauty and talented people. Mr Pyne said the initiative would help the north take advantage of the nearby key trading markets in Asia.