Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3044..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
to the case will be provided if it is within our wick to give it to them. I give you this absolute undertaking: there will be nothing withheld.
MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the minister for tourism. Minister, last week you attended the Tourism Ministers Council in Hobart, where discussions were had about the potential impact on the tourism industry of the federal government's proposed industrial relations changes. Can you inform the Assembly of the concerns raised in those discussions?
MR QUINLAN: It is the case that the tourism ministers from the states or state representatives received a presentation from no less a person than the federal minister on material that had been put together by Tourism Australia which identified, amongst other things, that there was an estimated 88 million days of annual leave accumulated in Australia, at a time when internal or domestic tourism in Australia had been flat for the last several years at least.
The federal government is earmarking some $8 million to encourage Australians to holiday at home, as well as launching a program with major Australian employers to encourage employees to spend their annual leave holidaying in Australia. There have been some studies done by the Victorian government in particular, which estimates that the cost of leave not being taken runs into billions of dollars for Australia and billions of dollars to the Australian industry.
The immediate question that arose at the Tourism Ministers Council and asked of the federal minister was: why is it the case, then, that under the proposed industrial relations changes put forward by Minister Kevin Andrews and supported so vehemently by all ministers there is a proposition that people should be allowed to cash in their leave? Maybe this initiative or proposal has not been thought through. The potential damage to the tourism industry across Australia of leave not being taken, and the impact on jobs within the tourism industry, would be quite substantial.
Under questioning, the federal minister advised the council that the federal government's proposed IR changes had the complete support of the tourism industry. I have to say that I have since been advised that a little bit of research has shown that that is entirely not the case and that it was only a matter of a couple of weeks ago, say three weeks ago, that the tourism industry and a number of spokespersons from the tourism industry went into the public forum and took issue with the federal government over the proposition that Australians should be allowed, if not encouraged, to cash in their annual leave.
We now have a dual problem. We have the impact upon the tourism industry in Australia, the domestic tourism, and we have the impact upon the workers themselves and, of course, upon an Australian community standard of four weeks annual leave. One of the tourism industry spokespersons-I have a beautiful quote here-said, "A relaxed worker is a more productive worker. We don't want to end up like the Yanks, with only two weeks holiday."
I would encourage those opposite, when they are hobnobbing with their federal counterparts, if they ever do, to put the interests of the states and territories, in particular