02/03/2017 - 14:55

Barnett wants cut to tourism penalty rates

02/03/2017 - 14:55

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ANALYSIS: Colin Barnett says cuts in penalty rates should be extended to include the tourism industry to reflect the fact it is a 24-hours, seven-days-a-week operation.

Barnett wants cut to tourism penalty rates
Perth’s iconic beaches are a drawcard for tourists.

ANALYSIS: Colin Barnett says cuts in penalty rates should be extended to include the tourism industry to reflect the fact it is a 24-hours, seven-days-a-week operation.

But the premier also supported an increase in the base rate of pay for workers in the industry.

Mr Barnett was speaking to almost 200 industry operators at a Tourism Council WA pre-election breakfast.

He said a cut in the penalty rate, combined with an increase in the base rate of pay, would help improve economic certainty for the industry.

Mr Barnett said tourism had enormous potential as Western Australia’s economy worked its way through the transition from its current heavy reliance on the resources sector.

He predicted strong growth in international tourism, especially from Asia, but described the interstate visitors’ market, which had grown by only 15 per cent over the past eight years, as stagnant.

He promised that a third-term Barnett government would appoint a tourism officer in Sydney to work with the industry to promote WA as a tourist destination.

“A re-elected Liberal government would prioritise this appointment and ultimately, if it is successful, we could look at opening a Tourism WA office in Sydney,” Mr Barnett said.

The premier also expressed confidence that a $50 million upgrading of the airport at Busselton would lead to a significant increase in interstate and overseas visitors to the Busselton-Margaret River region, with many arriving on direct flights from Sydney and Melbourne.

But he said while Perth would remain the key attraction for most visitors to the state, regional towns and cities had to be more active in promoting their unique attractions. He said location names such as Great Southern meant little to potential visitors, while using place names such as Albany, Margaret River and Broome was more effective in the marketing process.

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