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Labor leader in Airlie on campaign trail

By Mark Beale

TOURISM was the focus of announcements made by Leader of the Opposition Annastacia Palaszczuk during a visit to Airlie Beach yesterday.

At a press conference on the foreshore near the lagoon, Ms Palaszczuk pledged $10 million a year over the next four years for the State Government’s marketing and events agency, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ).

Ms Palaszczuk said the Newman Government had let Queensland’s tourism and hospitality operators down by cutting more than $20 million from TEQ last year, which in turn saw Queensland’s market share of overnight visitors fall by 1.1 per cent.

“Campbell Newman talks about tourism being one of the ‘four pillars’ [but] I’m passionate [about it], I’ve been listening to the tourism stakeholders and they have told me that extra money will bring in the extra visitors,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk also pledged four-year funding guarantees for supporting new and improved major events.

“We need to make sure that these regional tourism events have certainty – that there is a guarantee for the future,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk’s other election promises included appointing a senior member of Cabinet as tourism minister, ruling out the introduction of a ‘job-destroying’ bed tax and focussing on attracting visitors from emerging tourism markets such as China.

She also re-iterated her party’s $100 million commitment to the Great Barrier Reef, made earlier in the week in Cairns.

Her ultimate promise was that a Labor Government would revitalise and expand tourism.

“Our funding commitment will give the tourism industry the stability it needs to attract new events and promote Queensland as a world-class holiday destination,” she said.

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