We were here all along, Ja­son

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

I HAD the ab­so­lute plea­sure of at­tend­ing the Whit­sun­day Tourism Awards – the re­gion’s premier tourism event.

To­gether with La­bor’s fan­tas­tic can­di­date for Whit­sun­day, Bron­wyn Taha, I whole­heart­edly joined in cel­e­brat­ing the ex­cel­lence within the re­gion’s tourism in­dus­try and ac­knowl­edged all the hard work and ef­fort by lo­cal op­er­a­tors and the Whit­sun­day Regional Coun­cil into get­ting the in­dus­try back up on its feet and kick­ing goals af­ter the dev­as­ta­tion of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie.

The in­dus­try’s re­silience, de­ter­mi­na­tion and op­ti­mism is so im­pres­sive, par­tic­u­larly con­sid­er­ing the Fed­eral LNP Govern­ment’s un­will­ing­ness to fully fund Cat­e­gory D.

The Whit­sun­day Tourism Awards was a gen­uine cel­e­bra­tion of ex­cel­lence, re­silience and com­mu­nity.

A re­cent con­tri­bu­tion in this pa­per by LNP lo­cal mem­ber Ja­son Costi­gan has un­for­tu­nately ex­posed his au­to­matic re­sponse of tak­ing cheap po­lit­i­cal shots and turn­ing an event that had noth­ing to do with him, and ev­ery­thing to do with hard work­ing op­er­a­tors, into some­thing all about Mr Costi­gan.

“Where the bloody hell are you,” I read he de­manded of the Tourism Min­is­ter in Thurs­day’s Whit­sun­day Times.

Of course, Mr Costi­gan failed to men­tion that I at­tended the awards, as Deputy Premier, rep­re­sent­ing the Palaszczuk Govern­ment, cel­e­brat­ing with the Whit­sun­day tourism in­dus­try the fan­tas­tic work of lo­cal op­er­a­tors.

The real ques­tion is where was Mr Costi­gan when the former New­man-Ni­cholls LNP Govern­ment, of which he was a part, ripped $188 mil­lion from the tourism bud­get, en­sur­ing tourism growth flat-lined in Queens­land?

And where was he when his mil­lion­aire mate Mal­colm Turn­bull didn’t feel like fund­ing the cy­clone re­cov­ery ef­fort and ac­cused coun­cils like Whit­sun­days of rort­ing the NDRRA?

— Jackie Trad Deputy Premier

PHOTO: PETER CARRUTHERS

TOURISM AWARDS: Deputy premier Jackie Trad and Bron­wyn Taha en­joy the 2017 Whit­sun­day Tourism Awards on Hamil­ton Is­land.

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