House debates

Monday, 9 November 2020

Statements by Members

Dawson Electorate: Tourism

1:40 pm

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Few industries have been impacted more by the pandemic than tourism. My electorate boasts the most spectacular tourism destination in the Whitsundays, yet state and international border closures have pushed many local tourism operators to breaking point. Were it not for measures by the Morrison Liberal-National government, we could have seen tourism in the Whitsundays vanish completely. JobKeeper kept people in paid employment so that, when tourism businesses could get back to business, key staff were there and will be there. The government backdated the waiver of the reef tax, the environmental management charge for the Great Barrier Reef to the start of the year, which saved Whitsunday tourism businesses millions of dollars. The regional tourism recovery package gave a $3½ million boost for tourism marketing in Mackay and the Whitsundays, on top of $100 million allocated specifically to regional tourism projects from the Building Better Regions Fund.

As we look to recover from this pandemic, we're going to have to get behind new, innovative tourism projects, such as the Whitsundays sky rail, a really spectacular project that will connect Airlie Beach to the Conway Ranges, with a scenic cable car ride overlooking the Coral Sea and the Whitsunday Islands. It will be fantastic. But most of all, we all need to get behind tourism businesses in our regions. I want to say thank you to all the tourism workers and tourism businesses in the Whitsundays and beyond, that have kept pushing forward so that we'll have a strong tourism economy to help drive our recovery in the Mackay and Whitsundays region.