Published on : Friday, August 4, 2017
Joined by Shadow Minister for Finance Jim Chalmers and Senator Chris Ketter, Mr Bowen said that the tour was an excellent opportunity for understanding the economic challenges the region faced, as well as thinking about potential areas for growth and investment.
Mr. Bowen said, “On the weekend, we had the state conference with the Labor party in Townsville … in which we recommitted to a billion dollar tourism fund for Northern Australia out of the NAIF (Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility), which I think has a lot of opportunities.” He added, “While we won’t be assessing projects while we are here, this is a good opportunity to talk to people about the sorts of things that might be able to be funded through that and get some feedback about about other things we could be looking at. I know there’s proposals around about Great Keppel Island for example, which is a really interesting one in keeping with our interest in tourism which we’ll learn more about. We’re going to meet with Capricorn Tourism while we’re here as well.”
Shadow Minister for Finance Jim Chalmers said, “When you have a situation like that you have to think a little bit outside the square, you need to think about tourism infrastructure. We’ve got lots of good ideas. We’ve got lots of good natural environment but sometimes the difference is access to ports, access to trails, airports, all those sorts of things. We’ve got great tourism opportunities but we don’t have great tourism infrastructure, we lag, we’re ranked well back in the world in terms of tourism infrastructure. We need to fix that.”
He said Australia was the seventh most attractive tourist destination in the world, but tourism infrastructure was only ranked 14th, and it’s time, that things should change about that, so that this gap is bridged.