On September 14, the NCAA sent a list of questions related to our industry to representatives of the three major political parties ahead of the October 17 election.
These questions related to strategies to engage tourism, investments and grants, policies to support and stimulate tourism recovery and jobs, product development and planning, and ‘soft infrastructure’ investment.
We received a full list of answers from one party – the Greens – and Labor sent us a statement outlining their policy positions on tourism. In the interest of fairness we have provided links to the Liberal party policies which can be found online.
The Liberals: https://voteliberal.org.au/ourplan/
Here is the unedited response from Greens’ Campaign Manager, Clancy Barnard:
Question One: Tourism has taken a big hit from drought, through to bushfires and now COVID. Eventually people will be encouraged to travel again. What is your plan for how we will work together as a city and region to attract our share of the domestic market to the Canberra region, given that all other states/territories will have the same agenda? What is your strategy to engage?
The Greens know Canberra is a beautiful place to visit, with many fantastic attractions. We
understand that prior to the crisis Canberra’s tourism sector was thriving and continually
growing. With COVID-19 international travel will be stalled for sometime, however, we need to leverage off domestic travel and highlight that Canberra is a great place to visit.
Tourism sector support measures
The Greens have worked closely within the ACT Government to put in place a range of supports for our community, including substantial existing support measures for businesses through the COVID recovery, such as fee and tax relief and waivers. You can find more detail about these supports here. The specific supports in place for the hospitality and tourism sector can be found here. While these measures certainly do not address every need of our community through this very challenging period, we do believe that the Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund, along with reduced levels of COVID and state borders starting to reopen in time for our school holidays, should start to ease the pressures of significantly reduced tourism and visitation levels in the ACT.
In terms of strategy, the Greens will commit to investment in a marketing campaign to attract visitors. As you state, resumption of tourism will be a priority for all states and territories, but there is a uniqueness to the ACT we need to highlight. The Greens understand that the
expertise of organisations like the NCAA will be crucial in helping creatively pave the way
forward for what will be a new era for tourism.
The ACT Greens have a vision for Canberra as a world class tourist destination, beyond our
famous and much loved national institutions – although they are of course a key element in our recovery. We are proud to call Canberra the “Bush Capital” and believe that our natural
environment should also be promoted as a key attraction for international visitors, with the
majority of our Territory being national park and nature reserves.
We have also long called for the ACT to become the mountain biking capital of Australia, and will have more election announcements in this space soon. We would generally like to see more promotion of the ACT’s cycling tourism opportunities, which will also give people
opportunities to visit cultural institutions and attractions, dine in our fabulous restaurants and
bars, and rest in our trendy hotels.
Shane Rattenbury, as ACT Greens Minister for Sport and Recreation, also released the first
“Recreation Strategy”, in order to enhance the Government’s approach to enjoying the
outdoors. As Australia continues to respond to COVID-19, health restrictions continue to ease, and we seek to build a better normal , the ACT Greens will continue to explore chances to maximise our cities existing tourism industry, and prepare for new opportunities.
Question Two: Other states and territories have direct investment and financial grant programs so that businesses can apply for support to assist with rebuilding. Will your post-election ACT Government be looking to provide something similar?
The Greens election platform is focused on community recovery from COVID, but also
addressing the long-term systemic problems in the ACT. We understand that the decisions we make now will shape the future of our society. While the old parties are seeking a return to normal, the ACT Greens will use this moment to redress the inequalities and injustices of our current systems – to build a better normal. We will be providing direct investment and financial grant programs in a large range of sectors, including housing, building, energy efficiency, the arts, the community sector, skills training and a range of environmental areas. You can find more information about the plans we have already announced here .
As mentioned above, we believe that the ACT Government’s Tourism Cooperative Marketing
Fund, along with reduced levels of COVID and state borders starting to reopen in time for our school holidays, should start to ease the pressures of significantly reduced tourism and
visitation levels in the ACT.
Celebrate and support Canberra as an educational tourism destination
The school visits program is both a vital tourism opportunity for the ACT, as well as being an
important part of students’ understanding of Australia’s history, democracy and civic life. We will
work closely with the sector to build a COVID-safe strategy in order to see these visits resumed as quickly as possible.
Standardised COVID-safe protocols
The Greens agree that centralised COVID protocols that can be applied to all national
attractions would be of benefit to the industry, as well as to all the interstate tourists and for
school visits. We certainly understand the frustration with 23 different institutions having
different rules, making it difficult for parents and teachers to be able to clearly understand the
COVID-safe protocols that students will be following. We will seek to work closely with the
institutions and ACT Health to facilitate this.
Question Three: Most ACT residents do not vote based on tourism election policy and delivery, yet tourism is one of the key drivers of our economy, can you provide your policies that will show support to the economic stimulus to tourism recovery and your clear pathway for securing this industry and jobs for our Territory.
As mentioned above, the ACT Government has provided a range of relief and rebates to the
tourism and hospitality sector at this time. The Greens have supported these measures as part of our role in government.
We are committed to increasing marketing for Canberra over the next three years as part of a recovery response, and propose to increase the marketing budget by $1 million for each of the next three years.
We support the need for product development, and to make sure that we are packaging what Canberra has to offer in a way that visitors are seeking in the virus-impacted tourism market. We would provide $250 000 a year for the next two years to the NCAA to undertake this product development work, as well as to provide capacity to support tourism operators to
ensure that they have the right service offerings in place to give tourists confidence that they
are safe, and can enjoy their visit.
This funding would include the scoping work to develop a ‘Canberra Card’, as many other
tourist cities offer, to present tourists with a package to visit our institutions and tourist sites,
and would include public transport as part of a partnership with the ACT Government.
Question Four: We have great produce here in the Canberra region, but more could be done to support product development and programming. What plans do you have around making sure our visitors have the best possible experience and make the most of what we have to offer?
See our answer to Question 3.
Question Five: Infrastructure investment is vital at this time to support our wider economy. However, do you have a position and plan or strategies for supporting ‘soft infrastructure’ prioritization and professional development for the tourism industry to maximise the built environment once it’s in place?
The ACT Greens are strong supporters of the VET sector, and of our well respected and valued publicly owned CIT, which has a proud history of providing high quality hospitality training and education. We see the CIT as having a vital role in supporting Canberra through the difficult economic times ahead, and recognise that we will need to develop a much more targeted and strategic approach to the delivery of VET as a result of the impacts of COVID 19.
Arts in the ACT
Noting that recreation, tourism and the arts are the most COVID-impacted sectors in the ACT, and indeed Australia, the Greens recently announced an arts package with a diverse range of support measures. We know that many in our community turned to art, culture and music to survive the isolation, job losses and surging mental health challenges caused by COVID-19, and after the devastating impacts of the bushfires and smoke.
Your members may find these proposals of specific interest:
- We have long been calling for the Government to create entertainment precincts with different noise restrictions and regulations, to create vibrant hubs of music, art and food in a number of places in Canberra. We want to see the Entertainment Action Plan implemented, which will give certainty to businesses and residents alike. We also believe that this will facilitate a more vivid night-time economy, which is starting up again as part of the ACT’s COVID recovery.
- Trial a three year Canberra Creative Industries funding certainty program for 100 local, professional artists to produce original works and engage the community with art, in long term residencies and commissioned community-led art projects. The Greens believe that these 100 artists will be able to make many valuable and diverse contributions to the ACT – through events, performances, exhibitions and installations, and we believe the tourism sector will be able to leverage off their works and community-led projects through collaboration and cross-promotion across the sectors.
- We have called for more ACT Government promotion of local artists – promoting ACT artists, musicians and performers across Australia.
- The Greens are strong believers in nurturing and boosting our homegrown talents, which allow opportunities for the tourism sector to leverage off. Festivals and events bring tourism to Canberra and we need to ensure that these events support our local artists who we know are out of work, and many of whom would complement their artist jobs with hospitality work, which has reduced at this time. We propose creating a requirement for a minimum local content at government-funded festivals, events and arts programs to build our local arts industry.
The Greens have a broad range of election policies, many of which have already been
announced. You can keep up to date with our election initiatives here:
Thank you for the opportunity to expand on our plans for support for tourism in the ACT.
If you have any further questions, our ACT Greens Spokesperson for Tourism is Johnathan
Davis, candidate for Brindabella.
You can contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook.
Clancy Barnard, Campaign Manager
On behalf of the ACT Greens