GOV­ERN­MENTS PLEDGE FUNDS

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Whit­sun­day tourism in­dus­try is set to re­ceive the lion’s share of a $10 mil­lion funding pack­age an­nounced jointly by the fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments in Air­lie Beach on Tues­day.

Fed­eral Tourism Min­is­ter Steven Ciobo was first to an­nounce the funding at a press con­fer­ence held at the Cruise Whit­sun­days ferry ter­mi­nal.

Mr Ciobo said he was in the Whit­sun­days at the re­quest of Daw­son MP Ge­orge Chris­tensen “to re­in­force the on­go­ing com­mit­ment of the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment to help­ing this re­gion get back on its feet”.

“Tourism in the Whit­sun­days is one of the lifeblood in­dus­tries. It em­ploys around 10,000 peo­ple across the Whit­sun­days – iconic lo­ca­tions like Air­lie Beach, like White­haven, like Hamilton is­land – these are des­ti­na­tions that many Aus­tralians and in­deed many in­ter­na­tional tourists know. We want Aus­tralia and the world to know the Whit­sun­days is open for busi­ness. We want them to come here for their Easter hol­i­days, come for their win­ter hol­i­days,” he said.

Mr Ciobo went on to say how as “a strong show of sup­port” the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment would be pro­vid­ing a num­ber of fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance pro­grams, to­talling $5 mil­lion, which he ex­pected the State Gov­ern­ment to match.

He ex­plained the funding from Tourism Aus­tralia would pass to Tourism Queens­land and said he had “no doubt” the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment would be re­spon­sive to calls from Whit­sun­day Mayor An­drew Will­cox and Tourism Whit­sun­days to fo­cus money on the re­gion.

“Ul­ti­mately, the way in which the funding works is di­rected by the Queens­land State Gov­ern­ment but hav­ing spo­ken to Queens­land (Tourism) Min­is­ter, and hav­ing re­in­forced that from my per­spec­tive this is money to help the most ad­versely af­fected re­gion, which is the Whit­sun­days, I’ve got no doubt the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment will step up to the plate – but you’ll be able to ask those ques­tions di­rectly of the State min­is­ter,” he told the me­dia gath­ered on site.

Just a cou­ple of min­utes later that’s ex­actly what the wait­ing jour­nal­ists were able to do, as state Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones and Queens­land Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk ar­rived.

Premier Palaszczuk promised her Gov­ern­ment would pledge the same amount as the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment “to re­ally give tourism that ex­tra boost that they need”.

“To­day the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted $5 mil­lion and we will match that dol­lar for dol­lar to en­sure that tourism across our state that has been se­verely im­pacted can get back on its feet,” she said.

“Our cam­paign is ded­i­cated to en­cour­ag­ing more peo­ple to come here to the beau­ti­ful Whit­sun­days and my mes­sage to Aus­tralia to­day is the Whit­sun­days is open for busi­ness.

“Look how beau­ti­ful this place is. It doesn’t get much bet­ter than this.”

And there was no case for “do as I say, not as I do”, with the Premier and Ms Jones lead­ing by ex­am­ple.

“We want to see peo­ple con­tinue with their hol­i­days and I know my Min­is­ter for Tourism Kate Jones is bring­ing her fam­ily up here to this beau­ti­ful part of the re­gion for Easter,” Premier Palaszczuk said, adding, “and I’m in­tend­ing to come here in just over a month’s time to spend some time as well here.”

PHOTO: SHARON SMALL­WOOD

ABOVE: Fed­eral Tourism Min­is­ter Steven Ciobo sur­veys the Hamilton Is­land Ma­rina post-clean-up.

INSET: Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones, Whit­sun­day Mayor An­drew Will­cox and Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk in Air­lie Beach.

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