Regional tourism all but forgotten

Ed, While Sports Minister Stuart Ayres obsesses with sports stadiums in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, regional tourism organisations are withering on the vine. The recent and unedifying Sydney sports stadium debate has an unfortunate side story – the neglect of Mr Ayres’ other areas of responsibility, particularly regional tourism. Regional tourism has been all but forgotten 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 Tourism, Mr Ayres has delayed and delayed again finalising a substantial review into the funding and organisation of regional tourism organisations. While the industry continues to wait for the review – now seven months overdue – Mr Ayres has been silent. Meanwhile, one operator responsible for promoting tourism across most of north and western NSW has gone into voluntary administration, while others are fighting for their survival. Inland NSW Tourism called in the administrators earlier this month after encountering difficulty accessing grants from the Government. The Baird Government must finalise the review and implement any recommendations immediately to assist tourism operators in regional NSW. The Hon Mick Veitch MLC – Shadow Minister for Western NSW and The Hon Penny Sharpe MLC- Shadow Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events