Tourism top of SA Best list

SA Best candidate for Schubert Paul Brown.
SA Best candidate for Schubert Paul Brown.

Tourism is in the sights of Nick Xenophon’s SA Best party, with promises of a $24 million injection of funds statewide as well as $300,000 to fund a full time Barossa events coordinator.

"The position would be attached to Regional Development Australia Barossa and $100,000 per year would be made available for a period of three years to fund the position," Schubert candidate Paul Brown said.

He said both leisure and business events had a “great knock-on effect” with visitors coming for events and then returning to explore the region more.

"In the case of business events the delegates return with their families once they have experienced what is on offer in the Barossa, this knock-on effect can equate to additional visitors for every delegate attending an event," he said.

"The Barossa is seen as a brand leader for SA for wine and food and should also be seen as a leader in regional events.

"These events will attract more visitors and, importantly, increase their length of stay which is incredibly important when adding value to the local economy."

On a state level, SA Best has promised $24m plus the formation of a Tourism Cabinet Committee as key strategies for its Tourism Policy.

A non-negotiable component, should SA Best be in poll position to form government, would be $15m increases annually to SA’s tourism marketing budget, which the party said lagged behind the budgets of interstate competitors.

Mr Brown said the marketing commitment was key to SA competing on a world stage, yet it currently could not match tourism-savvy Australian states like the Northern Territory, which had committed to spending $103m over the next two years.

“At the moment, $36m is spent on marketing the state and that amount falls substantially under the amount needed to grow the visitor economy to reach the state government’s goals of $8 billion and 41,000 in direct jobs by 2020,” he said.

The marketing commitment was also critical to maximise the value and input of SA Best’s proposed Tourism Cabinet Committee, comprised of the Premier, Treasurer and ministers responsible for the environment, small business, transport, infrastructure and regions.

“The committee will foster a coordinated and holistic approach to the visitor economy, with no arm of government working in silos,” Mr Brown said.

“This will reduce bureaucracy and deliver better outcomes faster. The committee will also be the driving force of another tourism initiative – to host, in conjunction with the South Australian Tourism Industry Council, an annual forum of industry bodies to set the tourism agenda for the short, medium and long-terms.”

Other highlights of the policy included:

  • committing an additional $5 million over four years to South Australia’s Events Bid Fund
  • maintaining the Industry Development Program to ensure tourism workers provide excellent in customer service and exceptional experiences
  • re-establishing South Australia’s Tourism Development Fund 

“SA-BEST will designate $4m to the development fund from its proposed Royalty for Regions program to support businesses in upgrading 1075 rooms to 4-star standard and to build 1155 new rooms in regional SA,” Mr Brown said.

“This will address shortfalls that currently exist, reflected in the unfortunate fact that SA is 20pc behind the national average in providing 4-star accommodation in regional areas and has an oversupply of 2 and 3-star standard accommodation properties.”

Schubert incumbent Stephan Knoll said the Liberal party had announced strong policy to grow SA’s tourism sector both locally and state wide.

“The sealing of Lyndoch Road between Gomersal Road and the North Para River will unlock millions of dollars in investment for the Southern Barossa,” he said.

“Our $150m Regional Growth Fund will invest in tourism infrastructure across the state and our $40m Events Bid Fund will help bring more visitors to SA.”