Ayres’ obsession with Sydney stadiums failing regional tourism
In Parliament | 15.04.16
Stuart Ayres should spend more time focusing on regional tourism rather than pushing for a $1 billion stadium in Sydney’s east that is destined to be a white elephant.
Regional tourism has been neglected under the Baird-Grant Government, despite the fact that it brings in $12.9 billion to the NSW economy and supports over 150,000 jobs.
In his capacity as Minister for Major Events and Tourism Minister Mr Ayres is sitting on the findings of a review into the funding and organisation of regional tourism organisations.
Meanwhile, as the industry awaits the conclusion of the review, one operator responsible for promoting tourism across most of north and western New South Wales has gone into administration. Inland NSW Tourism called in the administrators earlier this month after encountering difficulty accessing grants from the Government.
Inland NSW Tourism covers over a quarter of NSW and supports 27.5 per cent of all tourism operators and destinations in NSW. These areas include: New England, Far West Orana, North West, Central NSW, Young and Goulburn.
In July 2015, as a result of concerns about the viability and sustainability of regional tourism organisations, Mr Ayres initiated a review of the funding model and organisation of regional tourism organisations.
The review to be undertaken by Destination NSW was due to report its recommendations by the end of 2015. In December 2015 the review was extended to the end of March 2016, but nothing has been seen since.
Mr Ayres has been silent. In the meantime, regional tourism operators are struggling with many winding back activities while others fight for their survival.
The NSW Opposition is urging the Government to release these findings and implement its recommendations immediately to assist vital tourism operators in regional NSW.
Quotes attributed to Shadow Minister for Tourism Penny Sharpe
“While Minister Ayres obsesses with sports stadiums in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, regional tourism organisations are withering on the vine.
“The Minister needs to focus on supporting regional tourism operators and their organisations as a matter of priority.
“The review to support regional tourism was promised to be finalised first by September 2015, then by the end of 2015. By December 2015 this was again extended out to March 2016. Minister, it is mid-April. Where is the report and more importantly where is the action to support regional tourism?”