Government fails a second time to respond to “Tourism in Local Communities” report

Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson for Tourism, says she is bewildered and disappointed that the Baird Government has failed to honour a second date for its obligation to respond to the Final Report of the Upper House Inquiry into Tourism in local communities.

“Time is up. The Government has been given ample opportunity to provide its response to the report from the ‘Tourism in local communities’ inquiry, having been given an extension of one month on the required six month period for a Government response,” said Ms Barham.

“The Government recognises the tourism industry as a major economic driver of the state, but after more than seven months it still has not addressed the priority issues raised by the first Parliamentary inquiry into this industry, which identified key impacts and benefits for local communities.”

A response to the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 3 report was originally due on 8 September 2014. However, the Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, Duncan Gay, submitted a request to the Clerk of the Parliaments for an extension of time, indicating that NSW Trade and Investment had advised it would submit the NSW Government response before 30 September 2014.

Ms Barham said, “We still don’t have a reply. The report made many recommendations to ensure that the tourism industry is sensibly reformed to provide world class standard products.

“Significant reforms recommended in the Government’s Visitor Economy Tourism Action Plan, released in December 2012, have produced some unintended consequences. Submissions to the inquiry indicated that the Government’s funding model was having major impacts on some local tourism entities’ ability to deliver long term plans and quality products, and the inquiry has recommended a review of those funding models. The inquiry also sought to find out from businesses and communities how these reforms were impacting on them and to recommend improvements, and those recommendations deserve a timely response.”

“While tourism provides jobs and income and is especially important in regional areas, impacts on local communities can be contentious, including the much contested issue of unapproved tourism activities such as party houses in residential areas, known as holiday letting.

“Another important finding from the inquiry was the need for state funding reform to assist councils in upgrading and funding necessary infrastructure to facilitate local tourism impacts.

“The Government’s response to this inquiry is necessary to ensure the future viability of this important industry,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Final Report, Tourism in Local Communities