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Commission of Audit recommends halving funding for Tourism Australia, drastic cuts to minimum wage

Commission of Audit recommends halving funding for Tourism Australia, drastic cuts to minimum wage
May 2, 2014

The Federal Government’s Commission of Audit has unveiled a radical blueprint to shrink the scale of the Federal Government with a series of recommendations including the halving of funding for Tourism Australia and for Austrade funding to be cut "significantly".

The Commission report, released publicly on Thursday (1st May), contains 86 recommendations detailing deep cuts to Federal Government payments and services, and ending of almost all direct government assistance to industry. It also recommends that some 15,000 public service jobs would also be cut.

Calling for the rationalising, phasing out or abolishing of 22 industry assistance programs, the Commission argues that tourism industry grants should be abolished, that Tourism Australia’s funding should be halved, and that residual functions of Tourism Australia and Austrade moved into a commercial arm of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

It also calls for the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation to be abolished and for the ending of Export Market Development Grants.

In health and wellness, the Commission has called for a $15 co-payment for all Medicare funded services, with a 15 visit safety net, and for health funds to vary premiums to account for lifestyle factors, such as smoking.

Government agencies would also be encouraged to use commercial cloud computing services to house non-sensitive data and to tender out requirements wherever possible.

While not an area of Federal Government expenditure, the Commission has also intervened on wages, calling for a drastic cut to the minimum wage to about $488.90 a week, to 44% of average weekly earnings.

The Commission says the lower minimum wage can then be used as a “minimum wage benchmark”, and for States and Territories to then set their own minimum wages to compete against each other for labour and business.

In releasing the report, Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey insisted the Commissions' recommendations were no more than that, but said some would be taken up in the Federal budget on 13th May.

Commenting on Tourism Australia’s potential cut in funding, pro-development lobby group Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) said it would dramatically impact business, local jobs and investment prospects for Australia.

TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the proposal is a dumb idea, stating “Tourism Australia’s work is helping the tourism industry deliver $42.3 billion in direct GDP each year.

“Tourism Australia is recognised around the world as one the most effective national tourism marketing bodies and must remain a statutory body governed by experts.

“The reality is that international visitors spend $80 million across Australia every single day.

“It is an industry which supports 900,000 jobs and 280,000 businesses.

“For every dollar earned in tourism, another 87 cents washes around the rest of the economy.

“If adopted, this proposal would undo years of investment that have positioned the industry on a growth trajectory.

“The Australian government has identified tourism as one Australia’s key economic strengths. This recommendation flies in the face of this growth strategy.

“With the decline of the mining and manufacturing sectors, Australia needs the visitor economy to deliver sustainable growth and jobs into the future.

“Only our competitor countries would benefit from Australia halving its international marketing efforts.

“Tourism is Australia’s largest services export, generating $28.9 billion in international visitor expenditure each year.

“The upcoming budget needs to position Australia for growth and cutting funding to Tourism Australia is an anti-growth measure.”

Reports by Commissions of Audit into Government finances are nothing new, however, what distinguishes this report from its predecessors is that its has been compiled in almost its entirety by representatives of Australia’s major business lobby group, the Business Council of Australia.

1st May 2014 - VISITORS FROM TRADITIONAL TOURISM MARKETS HEAD BACK TO AUSTRALIA 

10th August 2013 - TOURISM INDUSTRY WANTS LOWER WAGE RATES 

8th September 2011 - TOURISM NEEDS LABOUR AND SKILLS 

7th July 2011 - ATEC WELCOMES EXTRA SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS TOURISM


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

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