SUBJECTS: New Tourism Australian campaign targeted at working holiday makers; Dingo attack on Fraser Island

Monique Wright: Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham joins us now live from Melbourne, good morning to you. Who exactly are you targeting with this ad?

Simon Birmingham:  Good morning. Well we’re targeting those in particularly the UK, Germany and France who might wish to spend a year or two holidaying in Australia. We have around 300,000 working holiday makers who come to Australia each and every year, and those numbers have been a little stagnant or flat lately. What we want to do is make sure we rebuild that because those working holiday makers spend around $3 billion while they arehere. They basically spend every cent they earn, they spend the savings they bring with them and quite often of course they go back and ask mum or dad for more money while they’re here. So they’re a great lift to regional areas of Australia into our tourism industry.

Monique Wright: And in this ad, we’re seeing some of the best of Australia has got to offer. Why aren’t they coming? Why are the numbers dipping?

Simon Birmingham:  Well overall international visitation in our tourism market is booming and we’ve got around 8.5 million international visitors, record levels of spending, but in terms of the working holiday makers we just think we need to repackage the message a little bit so that we can actually target some of those who are university leavers and otherwise, that there’s still a really valuable experience for them to have, that will help them to kick off their career. But also is a huge boost to our tourism sector and regional Australia is what really benefits here. These are people who come and fill often seasonal jobs that it’s hard to get people to move around and fill otherwise, and it’s critical in our agricultural sector, tourism sector and of course ultimately all of that tourism spending employs around 1 in 13 Australians.


Monique Wright: Yeah ok, so you just made the point there that they are basically to do jobs that you can’t get Australians to do, is that right?

Simon Birmingham:  To an extent yes, these are usually seasonal jobs and so it’s hard to get people to move for just a few months’ work or the like, whereas working holiday makers are very happy to be mobile, to move around the country. They boost our economy, not just in what they’re spending, but because they make a contribution to those agricultural or tourism sectors that need seasonal workers.

Monique Wright: Yes indeed, and make sure that you are nice to them as well when you come across those tourists who are here on those working visas.


Simon Birmingham: 


Monique Wright: Now, I want to ask you as well about that dreadful dingo attack on a young boy, on a 14 month old, which happened on Thursday night. It’s the third dingo attack there Minister this year. Do you have safety concerns there, obviously a big deal, because it’s tourism that keeps that beautiful island going?


Simon Birmingham:  Well it is, obviously tourism in particular, and the parks and management authorities will be looking very closely at all of the safety issues in terms of how they manage these sorts of environments and situations. The wonderful thing about nature is that we can have incredible experiences but we do also have to be aware of the circumstances around us. And so, it is the right and proper thing for those parks authorities to look at exactly what safety processes are in place and also a reminder to everybody about the types of precautions and to always follow the safety advice from local authorities.

Monique Wright: Yeah, it sounds like this family of this 14 month old we’re doing that, but the dingo managed to get into the campervan and flick up the latch to get in? So it sounds like they were aware and were following the safety guidelines. There has been some calls for a dingo cull, what do you think of that?

Simon Birmingham:  Well I think they’re the sorts of things that are best left to park management authorities to have a look at. There are sometimes instances where in terms of population numbers of different species it becomes reasonable to look at those questions, but you’ve really got to always follow the science, the evidence and the expert advice on those matters. 

Monique Wright: Well luckily that little boy is recovering in hospital in a stable condition.

Simon Birmingham:  That’s the main thing indeed.


Monique Wright: Alright, Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham. Thanks very much for joining Weekend Sunrise, we appreciate that.


Simon Birmingham:  Thank you my pleasure. Cheers.