MPs want action on tourism woes
Capes politicians say the State Government has to act urgently on the Margaret River region’s tourism woes, amid air flight deals for other regional centres but no action on an approved $13 million passenger terminal for Busselton Airport.
The call from Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman and Vasse MLA and shadow tourism minister Libby Mettam comes amid the ongoing hold on a promised terminal catering to planned interstate flights, with the City of Busselton last week saying funding would expire in December if an airline was not secured.
Ms Mettam said the terminal delay was inexcusable”.
“This goes to the heart of the McGowan Government’s lack of a coherent tourism strategy,” she told the Times.
Mr Redman said the strong advocacy of South West local govern- ments deserved the Government’s support, and he noted the Margaret River region faced multiple challenges amid declining visitor numbers.
“The McGowan Government’s failure to act on shark mitigation is damaging the tourism and surfing reputation of Margaret River and it needs serious action prior to the warmer weather,” he said.
“The lack of commitment and funds for the final upgrades to the Busselton-Margaret River Region- al Airport is leading to a lack of confidence that this Government is taking regional tourism in the South West seriously.
“A modern, attractive airport terminal needs to be built; and the region needs support in securing an airline. It is hard to have one without the other.”
Earlier this month, new tourism statistics showed the three-year trend for Perth and interstate overnight visitors was down.
Margaret River-Busselton Tou- rism Association marketing director Sharna Kearney said the figures pointed to interstate visitors “not dispersing from Perth to the region in the same numbers they have before”.
Margaret River Chamber of Commerce deputy president Rebecca Hannan noted members had voiced concerns about decreasing tourism creating a business downturn. WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia was unable to respond to inquiries before deadline.