The Queensland Labor Government will set its sights on diverting Tasmanian tourists to the Whitsundays if re-elected in the upcoming state election.
National Parks Minister Steven Miles announced from the Whitehaven Beach lookout today that $5 million would go towards building eco-cabins to accommodate tourists taking part in a multi-day bush walk track on Whitsunday Island in a bid to “create new tourism experiences”.
Dr Miles said this was the type of attraction which had proven successful in parts of Tasmania.
“(But) while Tasmania only has a couple of pretty spots Queensland is covered in them; our coastline has amazing islands from the border to Cape York and that means our investment has been spread across all those places…Queensland is really spoilt for choice,” he said.
“We listened to the industry who said they could create more jobs if they had new experiences to offer and this is one of those new experiences, it will bring more people here and help tourism operators create more jobs.”
Tourism Whitsundays chairman Al Grundy agreed with Dr Miles assessment and said it would provide another “string in the industry’s bow”.
“It will just be an asset for tourism and the investment from government into the Whitsundays and the industry is applauding the government for this move,” he said.
“The Whitsundays is on fire, we are just booming – we have continued our growth and these infrastructure investments will help us manage our growth into the future.”
Mr Grundy said other Whitsunday candidates were yet to discuss their tourism priorities and was “looking forward” to seeing their positions.
Labor candidate for Whitsunday Bronwyn Taha said the announcement went “hand-in-hand” with the $25 million tourism package announced by Tourism Minister Kate Jones earlier in the campaign which would see the Government consult with industry with respect to providing more underwater and on-water tourism activities.
Dr Miles’ “eco-tourism” announcement also included $3.02 million to upgrade the Glasshouse Mountain National Park, $2.11 million for a Daintree National Park boardwalk and $1.48 million to upgrade walking tracks in Lamington National Park.
Dr Miles was pressed on what the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s strategy would be to attract private sector investment on languishing Whitsunday Island resorts.
The Hayman Island Resort went back on the market this year post Cyclone Debbie, joining other Whitsunday Island resorts on South Molle and Hook Island which remain vacant.
“We announced a $50 million island revitalisation strategy and $25 million of that will go towards helping operators on Whitsunday Islands where most of those closed resorts are,” he said.
“We are working with them to develop business cases to help them deal with waste and demolition issues which are an impediment to renovation.
“It will take private sector investment but government will do what it can to provide certainty to private sector to work with operators and support them.”
Comment is being sought from Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan.
Source: Whitsunday Times.