How much will National Park hunting cost our tourism industry?

Greens MP and tourism spokesperson, Jan Barham, has questioned whether the NSW Government has conducted a cost benefit analysis of the impact of hunting in National Parks on the tourism industry.

“I’m aware of concerns within the tourism industry about this ill-conceived scheme. The NSW Government must consider the economic impact of lost tourism income across the state before it proceeds with allowing hunters into parks and reserves,” Ms Barham said.

Ms Barham noted that nature tourism is a key part of the state’s tourism industry. “NSW parks had an estimated 38 million visitors in 2010, bringing in millions of dollars directly to the Government for park access, along with the income for tourism operators and local businesses.”

“If hunting is introduced then a proportion of that income will be lost. Some visitors will be unable to access parks while hunting is scheduled, and it’s likely that many others will stay away due to safety concerns.”

“The Government needs to justify the likely economic impacts of hunting on the small businesses who rely on tourism. They also need to indicate whether they have considered compensating tourism operators whose business is affected by the hunting program,” Ms Barham said.

“Tourism already accounts for 4.5% of the state’s employment and contributes billions of dollars each year to the state’s economy, and the Government has set itself a target of doubling visitor expenditure by 2020. Our state’s natural areas are one of the key attractors for tourism, and the Government’s own Industry Action Plan aims to increase tourism in National Parks.”

Ms Barham raised concerns that the hunting scheme was rushed through as a political solution without appropriate analysis. “We already know that the Government hasn’t thought through all of the safety risks, leading to the delay of the hunting program’s introduction. I suspect we might find that the sums don’t add up for regional tourism as well.”

Question without notice, Legislative Council Hansard 21 February 2013 – Hunting in National Parks

Government response to tourism report falls short on jobs, safety and standards

MEDIA RELEASE – 20 DECEMBER 2012

Local jobs are at risk, aircraft movements would increase and National Parks are under threat of development from the NSW Government’s tourism strategies, warns Jan Barham, the NSW Greens spokesperson on tourism.

“The Government’s response to the Visitor Economy Taskforce report has endorsed strategies that would jeopardise local employment and give support to tourism development in National Parks, but does not address visitor safety in our National Parks in relation to the approval for shooting of feral animals,” Jan Barham said.

The Visitor Economy Taskforce report, released in June, identified key strategies and actions along with a commitment to double overnight visitor expenditure by 2020, and the State Government has now endorsed that report. The release of the NSW Government’s response has defined some positive strategies for tourism but also supports additional Sydney Airport movements, development in National Parks and moves to increase the working visas for travellers putting at risk jobs for locals.

“The Taskforce report identified that nature is the primary attraction for domestic visitors to NSW yet the potential for development and shooting in protected areas such as National Parks puts visitors at risk. Destination NSW should commit to visitor safety education regarding shooting as they do for surf safety, but in Estimates hearings the Minister for Tourism denied that this was his responsibility,” said Jan Barham.

The Government’s response included support for the relaxation of current aircraft movements at Sydney Airport.

“Increased aircraft movements at Sydney Airport will come as a shock to Sydney residents who already experience extensive amenity impact from the current level of aircraft traffic. The NSW Government will refer this matter to the Commonwealth, but they should be up-front in advising Sydney residents of their support for increased disturbance,” said Jan Barham.

“The government should be ensuring that there is local employment in the tourism industry, but instead it is supporting an increase of the working holiday options for overseas travellers. In some areas there may be worker shortages but in coastal locations there is potential for locals to miss out on much needed employment in favour of travellers. This is the case with towns like Byron Bay, where travellers often get the jobs that locals need.”

“The response by Government also supports cutting red tape for tourism development, but many tourism developments are located in sensitive and significant ecological areas. It is vital that detailed planning consideration is given to these developments that can pose a risk to biodiversity, community and visitor safety, along with traffic and social impacts.”

Jan Barham also called for clearly defined eco-tourism development controls and a system of accreditation for this industry sector. “The Greens consider it essential that travellers are assured that eco-tourism operators’ marketing and promotion is matched by appropriate standards of operation. The NSW Government should consider linking funding support to the quality product development, as New Zealand has been able to do with its 100% Pure campaign.”

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061

Background:

BYRON BAY EVENTS

The Hon. JAN BARHAM [6.05 p.m.]: Events portray a community’s character. They present the culture of an area and are an important contribution to the social capital. They can also make a significant contribution to the economy, especially in tourist areas. On 10 September I attended the inaugural Sample Food Festival at Bangalow in Byron shire. The organiser, Remy Tancred, assembled more than 100 of the region’s growers, producers, restaurateurs, and art and craft suppliers from the region for a festival that celebrated and displayed the abundance and creativity of the North Coast. The event attracted approximately 8,000 people, who sampled and purchased the best and freshest of the region.

This event highlights the support for sustainable agriculture and the benefits of fresh, fine food. I raise this event and its success in the context of how the region maintains its attraction and diversity as a sustainable destination. There has been recent media focus on Byron Shire Council’s seeking to retain a degree of control of its identity and proposing to limit the number of large music festivals held in the area. Byron shire is an iconic tourism and event destination. The challenge is how to maintain a quality of life for the community while being economically and socially diverse.

Local events such as the Bluesfest and the Splendour music festival have attracted wide acclaim. The council and the community have been proud to host those events and the council has adopted a policy to support the continuation of two major music events annually. The aims of that policy are to recognise the contribution that events make to the diverse character and culture of the shire, to encourage event organisers to promote events that recognise and contribute to the evolution of this character and culture, and to manage events so that they do not adversely impact on the existing character.

The diverse talents and interests of the area embrace a broad platform of expression that is reflected in the range of events that continue to evolve. Local events are as varied as the community. They include the very popular and successful writers festival, film festivals, a billycart derby, a classical music festival, a vintage event, a kites and bikes event, underwater and surf festivals, a harmony event, a comedy festival, the woodchip event, the Starlight Wellbeing Expo, a triathlon, art expos, the Mullum Music Festival, the Bluesfest and, in past years, Splendour in the Grass. This is in addition to the activities that are part and parcel of the peak tourism period and schoolies week. Organisers deliver an average of three significant events each month that attract visitors, local and regional residents, and many from the large Queensland population to the north, just an hour away, who come over the border to enjoy our cultural diversity and natural landscape.

The community supports a tourism focus, but one which respects the host community. The shire has a small population of fewer than 30,000 residents and a visitor population of more than 1.5 million. The proposed festival site at Yelgun, known as North Parklands, is the subject of an application to establish a dedicated event site to host multiple music events, not only the widely renowned Splendour festival. The application is currently awaiting determination by the Government under part 3A. An application for a trial event at the site was approved by the council but overturned by the court after an appeal was lodged by a community group.

The proponents then made an application to the State Government. The Government has said much about returning planning matters to the local level, but that did not happen on this occasion. The community’s and the council’s concerns about the potential environmental and social degradation caused by multiple music festivals have been articulated as has their desire to maintain a broad cultural diversity. The concern is that the area will be characterised as a party town. Already there is wide community concern about alcohol-fuelled events and antisocial behaviour and how these might deter people from visiting the area.

The Byron shire has been at the forefront of environmental protection and sustainable development for more than 30 years and it is its distinctive character that makes it so attractive to locals and visitors. The event limit is recognition of the need to consider the future rather than simply to let market forces take control and perhaps define and diminish the overall character of the town. The shire does not want to be known as a music festival destination alone. It has so much more to offer and it seeks to maintain and develop a diverse cultural character.

It is recognised that there are positives in terms of economic and cultural benefits from large music events, but there is also potential for impacts on the social amenity and the environment. The community is concerned that the rich cultural diversity is maintained and that space is provided for more local events to emerge and seek the support of the community. The events policy seeks to restrict the number of large events that operate in the shire to allow the community to continue to define what and how we reflect our cultural identity. The potential for approval of a site that increases the number of large music events in the shire would present the shire as a music festival hotspot, which is not a desired outcome for the community.

SHORT AND SWEET THEATRE QoN

Ms Barham to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter, and Vice-President of the Executive Council representing the Minister for Tourism Major Events Hospitality and Racing, and Minister for the Arts—

  1. What is the 2010-11 Arts NSW funding allocation for the Short and Sweet Theatre?
    1. Has the Minister for the Arts or the Minister’s office made any representations to the Short and Sweet Theatre?
    2. If so, what was the nature of these representations?
  2. Will the proposed increases in funding allocations for the Short and Sweet Theatre be from the recurrent Arts NSW budget?

 

Answer—

  1. Short + Sweet is a multi-artform organisation. Short + Sweet did not receive any funding in 2010⁄11. An auspiced grant of $25,000 was provided to Short + Sweet Dance in 2010⁄11.
  2.  
    1. No.
    2. Not applicable.
  3. The Short + Sweet allocation will be included in the Department of Trade & Investment, Regional Infrastructure & Services budget.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT EXPENDITURE SCHEME QoN

Ms Barham to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Hunter, and Vice-President of the Executive Council representing the Minister for Tourism Major Events Hospitality and Racing, and Minister for the Arts—

  1. Has the Community Development and Support Expenditure (CDSE) Scheme Local Committee been established in every local government area where the category 1 CDSE liability for all participating clubs exceeds $30,000?
  2. How much has been expended on CDSE projects in the 2010⁄11 financial year to date?
  3. Does the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority provide annual reports on expenditure made under the CDSE scheme?
  4. How can members of the public access information on programs funded under the CDSE scheme?
  5. Which programs were funded under category 1 and 2 CDSE in the 2009⁄10 financial year? Please provide a list of all programs.
    1. Has the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority ever requested to see the minutes of a CDSE Scheme Local Committee?
    2. If so, under what circumstances have requests been made?

 

Answer—

  1. The CDSE Scheme Guidelines require CDSE local committees to be established in each local government area where the total CDSE Category 1 liability of local qualifying clubs is in excess of $30,000 in the tax year. There is no requirement for the Department of Trade and Investment to keep of a list of the local committees that have been established. ClubsNSW has this information on its website.
  2. Clubs that participate in the CDSE Scheme must submit their annual returns to the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority outlining their CDSE Expenditure by 7 September each year, one week after the end of the gaming machine tax year. The gaming machine tax year is from 1 September to 31 August. Therefore, expenditure figures for the 2010⁄11 tax year are not yet available. 
    For the gaming machine tax year ended 31 August 2010, registered clubs in NSW expended $63.5 million on projects and services under the CDSE Scheme, although only $38.2 could be claimed as a rebate under the scheme.
  3. Information about expenditure made under the CDSE Scheme is included in the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority’s annual report.
  4. and (5) There are legal restrictions imposed under the Gaming Machine Tax Act 2001 on the disclosure of gaming machine revenue and tax details. These restrictions apply to information about CDSE expenditure provided to the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority by registered clubs for the purposes of claiming a gaming machine tax rebate under the scheme. The Gaming Machine Tax Act prevents information relating to an individual club’s expenditure being released to the public, although clubs can choose to provide this information themselves. 
    (6) No.

Local Government Tourism Funding

The Hon. JAN BARHAM: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services representing the Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing. Will the Minister advise whether a new funding source will be made available to local government authorities in popular tourism areas to assist with infrastructure upgrades and maintenance in recognition of councils’ role in maintaining facilities used by both residents and visitors and given their constrained budgets and the fact that they do not receive funding for tourism?

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I thank the honourable member for her question. I am sure the Hon. Greg Donnelly would be able to give a detailed answer if he was a Minister, but, sadly, he never will be. I will, however, get an answer from the appropriate Minister and provide it to the member.

ANSWER

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: On 4 August 2011 the Hon. Jan Barham asked me, representing the Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing, a question regarding local government funding. The Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing has provided the following response: 

I thank the Honourable Member for her question.

In our first 100 days, we commenced implementation on our election promises to double overnight visitor expenditure in NSW by 2020 and to build a world class convention centre.

Destination NSW combines the State’s events and tourism resources into a new, single statutory authority governed by a Board of Management.

As you would know another election commitment that we have met in the budget is to provide Regional Tourism Organisations with an extra $5 million on top of the existing regional tourism budgets to develop local tourism infrastructure.

This funding will equate to $250,000 each with a balance available for joint projects. We strongly encourage local councils to work with the Regional Tourism Organisations to cooperatively develop priorities for the expenditure of our funding boost.

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