$5 billion funding bill for the North ready to go

THE draft legislation to enable the flow of $5 billion into projects in Northern Australia has been released and this is a welcome step in developing jobs and opportunities for the north. This exposure draft legislation for the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) paves the way for the flow of funding into the development of infrastructure, so that this region and other parts of Northern Australia can reach the potential we know is there. Northern Australia holds the country’s rich reserves of energy and resources, it has many thousands of hectares of arable land if we get the right water infrastructure, like Urannah Dam, in place, and we have world-class tourist attractions.

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The National Visitor Survey, released today, held good news for the region. There was a 16 per cent increase in Mackay visitor numbers over the past twelve months, and those visitors are staying longer and spending more. The National Visitor Survey showed 883,000 Australian tourists visited Mackay, staying an average of four nights and spending $380 million for the year ending June 2017.

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Superyacht access a boost to Whitsunday economy

THE introduction of more superyacht anchorages in the Whitsundays, to take effect from today, is a welcome step on an issue I have lobbied for extensively over the past two years. I was very pleased to hear the announcement from Federal Minister for the Environment Josh Frydenberg that amendments to the Whitsundays Plan of Management have been finalised, opening the way for 21 new superyacht anchorages in this world-class tourist destination. I have met with superyacht industry representatives on numerous occasions in the past two years and discussed the case for change with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) as well as the current and former Environment Minister. One superyacht spending a week in port has the potential to inject $50,000 into the local economy and support a number of small businesses. When we see places like Noumea hosting 200 visits a year of a week or more each, we can appreciate the potential for the Whitsundays.

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Whitsundays on show in Paris

THE city of Paris is festooned with billboards displaying turtles, Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef as part of the $10million tourism funding package to support our region following the effects of Cyclone Debbie. I welcome the launch of Tourism Australia’s international campaign which was undertaken by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steve Ciobo last night. I was able to bring Minister Ciobo to the Whitsundays to see firsthand the effects of Cyclone Debbie almost immediately after the event, and it is now heartening to see the results of that visit, which is a concerted effort to showcase our region internationally and beckon international tourists back to this beautiful part of the world. Tourism is so important for our community. It drives the economy and supports local jobs. That’s why the Liberal National Government is working hard to bring tourists back to the region.

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