SUBJECTS: Morrison government to invest $10.1 million in Sovereign Hill; Dingo attack on Fraser Island
Simon Birmingham: Thanks so much for coming along today. It’s wonderful to be here with the team from Sovereign Hill, from the Victorian Tourism Industry Council as well as my great Senate colleague Jane Hume, the Liberal candidate for Ballarat, Timothy Vo, for an exciting announcement in support of Sovereign Hill tourism here in Victoria, and indeed tourism right across Australia. Growing Jobs is central to our government’s economic message and over the last few years we’ve been proud to create more than 1.3 million jobs around Australia. One in 13 jobs in Australia depends upon tourism. That’s why in this year’s budget we’ve committed $50 million dollars to a tourism icon project and that’s about backing across states and territories right around the country, some of the iconic tourism attractions that are just so critical in terms of driving visitation, driving spending, securing regional areas, and from that underpinning and creating more jobs in the future. Today we’re announcing that $10.1 million from the tourism icon’s funding will flow to Sovereign Hill for upgrades to the gold mining and digging experiences and importantly the educational experiences at Sovereign Hill. What that’s going to mean is that the 750,000 visitors to Sovereign Hill annually are going to get an even better, richer experience in terms of their time at Sovereign Hill. Sovereign Hill is etched in the memories of millions of Australians and international visitors as part of their childhood, as part of their education and it is one of the iconic tourism destinations right around Australia. We want to make sure that we continue to grow tourism jobs in the future. It is part of our plans to see a further 1.25 million jobs created over the next five years and that we deliver those in the tourism industry too. This will help regional Victoria in terms of its’ tourism growth. And it comes today as we’ve released the latest domestic tourism visitation statistics that show Australians have been spending an increasing amount of time holidaying at home. Visitor nights across Australia up some 9 per cent. What that means is that we’ve got more Australians spending more across regional Australia. More nights – which means more jobs and more opportunity in local hotels, pubs, restaurants and local attractions. And timely investments such as this one in Sovereign Hill are going to ensure that in the future we get even more opportunity for more of those jobs to be created in regional Victoria. Tourism is also important because it’s a really sustainable industry and the types of investments we’re making through these ‘Icons programme’ is about backing in many cases the sustainability of nature based tourism experiences, as well as history and heritage such as that at Sovereign Hill. So today we celebrate the fact that Sovereign Hill, the home of the gold rush, striking gold under the Morrison government, with a new investment in terms of upgrading its infrastructure and that’s going to mean for millions of Australians an even better tourism experience when they visit Sovereign Hill in the future.
Timothy Vo: Thank you Simon. An announcement like this is absolutely massive for the region of Ballarat. You can, I think you would be hard pressed to find a single person who has gone through the Victorian education system who has not been to Sovereign Hill at some point in their life. What this means for tourism is more people coming to Ballarat, more people investing in the economy through hospitality or accommodation and I think an announcement like this can only bring good things to Ballarat.
Jane Hume: Well I’m one of the Victorians that grew up with Sovereign Hill as did my children. Is there anybody out there from Victoria that hasn’t got that sepia photograph of their family in those olden day clothes like we have behind us? Is there anybody that hasn’t got their wanted poster as part of the Kelly gang. So ironically, as a, as a tourist attraction that immerses people in Victoria’s history, Ballarat and Sovereign Hill has really kept up with the times and moved with the times. And of course this $10.1 million dollar investment will allow Sovereign Hill to maintain its facilities, to expand its facilities and will allow future generations and future visitors to Ballarat to enjoy Sovereign Hill well into the future.
Journalist: Yes on the Fraser Island dingo attack – do you expect that affect the reputation of the island?
Simon Birmingham: I think we need to follow very carefully the advice of Park’s management authorities in Queensland. Obviously this is something that should be and will be thoroughly investigated. And if safety warnings and information need to be upgraded and I’ve got no doubt that it will be. And we would encourage all families holidaying to make sure that they follow all of the safety advice.
Journalist: Yes just on that what message might you have for families or people that are planning on travelling or visiting there?
Simon Birmingham: Australia has a rich array of incredible nature based tourism experiences and people want to get out and enjoy those experiences. But make sure you check the safety advice beforehand and follow it.