Correction: Keith Pitt is the new Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
On Tuesday, Spice posted a story about the Turnbull government appointing a new Tourism Minister. At the time of publication, Steven Ciobo’s appointment as Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment had yet to be announced, and Spice ran an announcement naming Keith Pitt as the new Tourism Minister. This was incorrect.
Ciobo has a Masters in Law from Bond University and grew up in Mareeba in North Queensland. His parents ran a tourism business during his childhood.
He said, “I am honoured to have been sworn in as Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
“Increasing trade, investment and tourism is at the heart of the Turnbull Government’s plan to create jobs and support economic growth.
“The Turnbull Government will pursue an ambitious trade agenda to grow our exports, attract new investment and increase visitor numbers – ultimately creating more Australian jobs.
“I will be an unwavering advocate for the tourism industry around the Cabinet table. The Government will further improve Australia’s competitive advantage in tourism, building on our achievements of the past three years.
“We will seek to capture a greater share of the Chinese market, including by designating 2017 as the Australia-China Year of Tourism,” he said.
Accommodation Association of Australia Chief Executive Officer, Richard Munro, said having tourism as both a Cabinet portfolio and in the outer ministry should translate to a greater level of understanding of the public policy challenges, which are confronting the tourism industry.
“The Accommodation Association congratulates the Turnbull Government on its re-election,” he said.
“Ciobo has been a strong supporter of tourism – both as a Cabinet Minister and as an elected representative of one of Australia’s iconic tourism regions, Queensland’s Gold Coast – and we look forward to continuing to work with him for mutually beneficial outcomes.
“The industry is pleased with the appointment of Hon Keith Pitt MP as Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
“Pitt has been a fierce advocate for regional Australia – where many of our members are based – and we trust he will continue to maintain this passion during the upcoming term of Parliament.
“The Accommodation Association would like to recognise the outgoing Minister for Tourism and International Education, Senator the Hon Richard, Colbeck, for his tireless work and enthusiasm in the portfolio,” he said.
Munro said the Association also looks forward to working with the shadow minister or ministers who responsible for tourism, once they are confirmed.
“In terms of policy implementation in the next Parliament, the accommodation industry supports the proposal the Government took to the election to cut company tax,” he said.
“Tourism accommodation businesses with a turnover of more than 2 million dollars have not had a tax cut for many years and pursuing this policy will assist with building business and consumer confidence, as well as boost employment in our industry.”
The Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has congratulated Prime Minister Turnbull and his Cabinet and “is looking forward to the opportunity over the coming term of the new parliament to work together to build a stronger national visitor economy backed by more investment in transport,” according to the organisation’s CEO, Margy Osmond.
“Prime Minister Turnbull has won re-election for the Coalition on a positive platform of an economic plan to seize the opportunities on the horizon for Australia for which they should be heartily congratulated,” she said.
“Congratulations to Steven Ciobo on his appointment as Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. He has been a great advocate for the industry and we look forward to continuing working with him.
“TTF has been a strong advocate of the need to elevate the tourism portfolio in the national economic debate. It’s a fantastic outcome to see the tourism sector recognized in Minister Ciobo’s Cabinet title and is proof of this governments understanding of the industry’s importance to the success of Australia’s future economy.
“We congratulate and warmly welcome Keith Pitt on his appointment as Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. We look forward to developing a close and positive relationship to support the industry and allow it to reach its full economic potential for Australia,” she said.
Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) has also welcomed the appointment of Ciobo.
TAA Chair, and former Federal Cabinet Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, said it was essential for tourism to have a voice at the Cabinet table.
“We thank former Minister for Tourism, Senator Richard Colbeck, for his enthusiastic support of the industry, and welcome Steve Ciobo and Keith Pitt to their roles of guiding tourism and hospitality towards achieving the objectives set out in the Tourism 2020 plan, which were established when I was the Minister responsible for tourism,” he said.
“It is clear that the shape of our economy is changing rapidly, with service sector industries such as tourism becoming first-tier industries with the brightest prospects for growing export earnings and creating jobs.
“We are currently in the most dynamic expansionary phase ever in terms of hotel construction and tourism infrastructure growth and it will be essential that the Government support the industry through positive policies and a reduction in barriers.
“The fact that a regionally-based MP has been appointed Assistant Minister is encouraging, because it is in regional Australia where we face some of the greatest challenges confronting the industry.
“In particular, the backpacker tax is threatening the supply of labour to regional areas and the Government needs to act quickly to confirm that the measure will be suspended permanently.
“It is also essential that temporary skilled migration channels are made more flexible to overcome shortages of labour in regional and remote areas, while at the same time, we are calling on government to support major training and career development programs to help fuel the industry’s expansion.
“Inbound annual growth is currently running at 9.3%, and the latest Tourism Research Australia figures predict that by 2019–2020, total overnight expenditure will reach $127 billion, which makes tourism an integral component of the trade, tourism and investment portfolio and worthy of serious consideration at the Cabinet table,” Ferguson said.