Topics: Tourism Australia domestic campaign, Gladys Berejiklian, Reports on Australian coal flows into China.
Allison Langdon: Well, the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham joins us now from Adelaide. Simon, thanks for your time this morning. We will get to that ad in a moment. But first, the New South Wales Premier, she stuffed up. That’s in her own words, showed poor judgment. Should she resign?
Simon Birmingham: Well, she stuffed up in her personal life. But I think people right across New South Wales can see very, very clearly just how hard Gladys Berejiklian has worked through the bushfires, through dealing with COVID, and she’s got pretty exceptional outcomes for New South Wales and for the whole country in the management of COVID and we should be all very grateful to her for what she has given and the accomplishment she’s made in successfully suppressing and managing COVID.
Allison Langdon: Were you shocked yesterday?
Simon Birmingham: It came as a surprise of course. But look, these are personal matters in her personal life. What we need to all focus on and what I’m sure Gladys Berejiklian is focused on is the continued successful suppression of COVID in New South Wales and getting people back to work, as she has led the way in doing in that state.
Allison Langdon: Does our trade war with China now include coal?
Simon Birmingham: We’ve seen over the years various occasions where there’s been some disruption in the coal flows to China and there are a range of domestic factors in there. I’m obviously aware of some of the recent reports and we’re talking to the coal industry there and seeking assurances from China in relation to these matters but our coal remains an important part of our export mix and certainly a very reliable energy source for a range of countries across the region.
Allison Langdon: Have Chinese steel makers and power plants been told to stop importing Australian coal?
Simon Birmingham: We have no evidence to suggest that that is the case but I’ve seen those reports. We’re talking to the industry and as I say, we will continue to engage through officials with China to try to secure reassurance on these matters.
Allison Langdon: Okay. Now, this new tourism campaign, it’s pretty hard to holiday at home though when we can’t cross a border.
Simon Birmingham: Well, that’s not the case everywhere and the reason we’ve decided to take this campaign forward now is that we are seeing progress in opening borders. We’ve seen progress from South Australia, the Northern Territory, into the ACT, into New South Wales. Queensland has opened up to a number of states and I hope we will see more there. Tasmania is slated to open up at the end of this month. And we hope and trust that occurs.
And so, we are seeing now a critical mass where movement can occur and one in 13 Australian jobs depends on our tourism industry. So this campaign is all about making sure that we get people moving, not just out in their own states but across state borders to save jobs in airlines, in airports with hire car companies, in hotels and tour operators and encourage people to not just have a holiday but have a real proper break, like they might have done overseas but do it here in Australia.
Allison Langdon: Well it is a fun campaign. Simon, thanks for joining us this morning. We appreciate it. Karl?
Karl Stefanovic: Yeah. Should be congratulated on that campaign. It’s fantastic. Tourism Australia doing its wonderful job.