Northern Territory Shadow Minister for Tourism Willem Westra van Holthe
Tourism Cuts Don’t Make Sense
Victor P Taffa
The Henderson Labor Government has diverted money from the tourism budget despite the Territory’s declining visitor numbers.
Tourism Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy made the admission last night during Estimates Committee hearings.
“Tourism spending as a proportion of the overall budget has declined from 1.8% in 2003-04 to 0.9% in the current budget.” Shadow Tourism Minister, Willem Westra van Holthe said.
“Tourism is one of the Territory’s three main economic drivers and the cuts have coincided with consistent falls in visitor numbers over the past decade.”
“The Labor Government’s response to tough economic times in the tourism sector is to spend less on tourism. This is typical of Labor’s counter intuitive response to managing the economy.” Mr. Westra van Holthe said.
“Ms. McCarthy said money had been put into addressing Indigenous disadvantage without at any point describing how that money had been used to benefit tourism.”
“I’d like to know how tourism operators and employees in the tourism sector in Alice Springs, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Darwin feel about this policy shift.”
Mr. Westra van Holthe said the Tourism Minister must also say whether she supports crocodile safari hunting in the Northern Territory.
“Three times this morning Ms. McCarthy refused to say whether or not she supports the crocodile hunting trial.”
This puts her at odds with the Chief Minister on the issue.” Mr. Westra van Holthe said.