The decision to cut almost $25 million from tourism promotion in the 2014-15 State Budget kicks sand in the face of the thousands of Queenslanders who work in the industry, says Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“If tourism is one of the Newman Government’s four economic pillars, then the Treasurer’s smash and grab raid on the industry shows what a chaotic mess his Budget really is,” said Ms Palaszczuk.
“Why is it ok for the LNP to spend up to $20 million on taxpayer funded political propaganda for their asset sales campaign, while the tourism sector has to do without?
“If it’s not enough that the LNP put a ‘for sale’ sign on Queensland’s income-earning assets, they’ve also gone about cutting funding to one of our most important sectors.
“Ripping 20 per cent from Tourism and Events Queensland threatens tourism jobs across the State and the reduction in marketing and promotion of Queensland will hurt the myriad of businesses which rely on holidaymakers.
“TEQ has been enormously successful and commands respect and admiration from the tourism sector and envy from its competitors. It is an innovative organisation which has consistently delivered outstanding results for Queensland.
“You don’t support a pillar by attacking its foundations. This is a betrayal of those Queenslanders who rely on the tourism industry to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.
“Who can forget the ‘Best Job in the World Campaign’ which raised Queensland’s profile internationally?
“It is a multi-award winning organisation but it can’t perform miracles. This Newman Government’s cut is unforgivable.”
On the Gold Coast today, Mr Pitt said the decision to raid TEQ of $24.9 million was particularly galling given the Tourism Minister hailed from Queensland’s tourism capital.
“Ever since the GFC and rise of the Aussie dollar, it’s been harder than ever to attract tourists to the Gold Coast. We finally have the greenshoots of recovery, only for the Newman Government to do their best to kill it off.
“To have a Tourism Minister from the Gold Coast that cuts tourism funding is beyond belief.
“Minister Stuckey has a lot of explaining to do to the Gold Coast and other tourism-reliant regional economies across Queensland.
“Before the last election Campbell Newman said he would assign the tourism portfolio to a senior minister, but since then he appointed Jann Stuckey who is well down the Cabinet ladder and was obviously too weak to prevent these latest funding cuts.”