MPs want ac­tion on tourism woes

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

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.

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