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Don’t blame mining boom for tourism downturn

Premier Colin Barnett should stop blaming the mining boom for Western Australia’s inability to keep up with the rest of the country’s tourism growth.

Mr Barnett said increased mining activity was one of the reasons why WA had the lowest tourist spending growth in the country, something the union says is just a way of deflecting blame from its poor spending decisions.

Visitor numbers in WA increased four per cent last financial year, compared to six per cent in New South Wales, eight per cent in Queensland and 22 per cent in Tasmania.

"Our economy relies heavily on a vibrant tourism industry but if the Barnett Government doesn’t invest more staff and resources into campaigns to increase visitor numbers, we will drop even further behind the rest of the country,” branch secretary Toni Walkington said.

“In 12 months to March tourists in WA spent $8.9 billion that was injected into thousands of businesses, making a financial contribution that can’t be ignored but it could be much higher if it was promoted better.”

The government claims it was hard to get a hotel room in Perth two to three years ago when mining activity was at its peak – at the same time that hotel occupancy rates were as low as 28 per cent in South-West tourist towns.

Ms Walkington said there was much more to WA tourism than Elizabeth Quay or the Perth Stadium and called on the Barnett Government to invest in more resources and staff to promote what the whole state had to offer.

“Following its Regional Tourism Review in 2010 the Barnett Government slashed the number of Tourism WA full-time staff by 40 per cent, resulting in the closure of tourism centres in Broome, Hedland, Carnarvon, Geraldton, Bunbury, Albany and Kalgoorlie.

“It is comical that Mr Barnett can blame the mining boom for a lack of tourism activity, particularly as many were concerned back in 2012 for WA having one of the lowest government spends on tourism in the nation.”

FOR COMMENT:

FOR INFORMATION:

Toni Walkington
CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary
(08)  9323 3800

Darren O’Dea
CPSU/CSA Media Liaison Officer
M:  0421  934 794
P:    (08) 9323 3855
E:    [email protected]

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