Address at Tasmanian Tourism Employment Plan launch

9 June 2016

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. SENATOR RICHARD COLBECK,

MINISTER FOR TOURISM AND INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION

ADDRESS AT TASMANIAN TOURISM EMPLOYMENT PLAN LAUNCH

BURNIE, TASMANIA

Subjects: Tasmanian Tourism Employment Plan

EO&E...........................................................................................................................................

Thanks everybody for being here, I notice some of you have been conscripted by a board meeting so it's always a good way to get a crowd, to make people turn up.

Look it is a really important issue for Tasmania but also Australia nationally - how we manage the labour force for the tourism industry. We currently have a shortfall in this country of about 38,000 people to work in the industry and that's projected to grow to be something like 127,000 by 2020. So we need to ensure that people understand the opportunities and that people understand that there is a very good career path in this industry.

I was talking at a TravelDaze event in Sydney on Monday and one of the key issues that they were concerned about was where their labour force came from to manage the growth in the sector. We know that the growth projections are strong, particularly out of certain markets and if you consider that 120 million Chinese took an international holiday last year and that's projected to be 200 million by 2020, which is not that far away, it demonstrates what the growth could be in that market.

We this year had our first season, first year with 100 million Chinese visitors. So out of the 120 million we got 1 million. So if we can grow our share but also keep growing with the projected growth just out of that one country there's significant potential.

I noticed a comment recently around some reports about what Chinese visitors experienced here in the country and Kirk sent me an email about that - we need to make sure that our businesses are resourced in the context of labour to be able to meet that demand and labour that's suitable for the job.

So the opportunity through the Employment Plan to engage, put ambassadors in place, to have I think a change in the way the industry's perceived is really important and in a higher unemployment area such as the North-West Coast of Tasmania the opportunity to deal with a couple of issues at once, but change the perception about the tourism industry as a career path.

It's quite clear that it is a very satisfying career path, there are plenty of people here in Tassie and nationally that have done very well out of it over their lifetimes and so that perception needs to be changed for more towards the positive. So engaging with people who are giving advice through the career path in schools, careers advisers and those sorts of things that are a really important part of actually working to do that.

So we as a Commonwealth Government working with the State have funded the pilot for the North-West. The State at its own initiative has decided to do an Employment Plan for the entire state which I think is also a good initiative to extend the work that's been done here but it also demonstrates that both of us understand the need to generate the people that are required to fill the vacancies in the sector but also look at utilising some of the labour that's here that's not being properly utilised.

So it's really pleasing to see the project get to this stage, to see it prepared for launch and I look forward to seeing the results of those elements that are designed to actually build that engagement and change the perception of the industry as far as a career path.

Andrew Robb tells me a great story of a young guy he was talking to who was managing a business that was turning over $4 million a year in the hospitality sector - but he was only doing that until he found a real job. You know, that's the sort of perception that I think needs to be changed and people need to understand that there is a good and strong career path.

So thanks for the opportunity to be here today Rod and Ian. I look forward to seeing some positive results out of the employment plan.

ENDS.

EXTRA COMMENT:

We were in China a few weeks ago. It seems a lifetime ago but it was only a few weeks ago. We signed an arrangement for 2017 to be the Australia China Year of Tourism and that creates all sorts of opportunities.

The Chinese talk to us about things that they were doing in that space like sending 1000 visitors to one location. They're looking for things to promote and engage with Australia as part of that 2017 Australia China Year of Tourism. There's three countries in that space with them next year and it's not that far away - it's an opportunity.

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