Thursday, 9 September 2021                       HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                                     Page 7067/7068

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:22): My question is to the Premier as the Minister for Tourism. Can the Premier update the house on the funds allocated to the Tourism Industry Development Fund, which opened for submissions in September last year with a closing date of 31 March 2022. With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain a bit further.

Leave granted.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: Taylor Wines from Auburn received an email dated 8 September advising that no more submissions after 10 September would be received for this application, which gave Taylors 48 hours to gain all approvals required from the various approving departments.

The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL (Dunstan—Premier) (15:22): As members would be more than aware, our government’s response to the global pandemic was to move as quickly as possible to provide stimulus and support to our economy. Of course, we now see the great benefit of that alacrity and also the sheer volume of support that was provided.

In fact, the commonwealth Parliamentary Budget Office provided an independent analysis of the response of each of the jurisdictions and found that South Australia had the second highest in the nation. Part of that response was the Tourism Industry Development Fund, a $20 million fund over two years: $10 million last year and $10 million this year.

This provided support for regional tourism businesses to attract state government money, up to 30 per cent of the value of their project to try to bring forward projects that would do a couple of things: firstly, to stimulate economic activity in the regions and in particular to provide jobs and, secondly, a longer term objective to improve the amenity of the various tourism offerings right across our state.

We have 11 fantastic regions here in South Australia that are identified by the SATC. Each of those regions has already received grant funding for important TIDF projects. It’s fair to say that, after a reasonably slow start, it has picked up pace and, of course, we are trying to finalise that second $10 million that has been allocated for this year.

I don’t have any specific details with regard to the cut-off times that the member refers to, but I am happy to raise that with Mr Rodney Harrex who is the chief executive of the South Australian Tourism Commission. As he would be aware, it’s a separate statutory authority, so he makes some decisions like this, but one thing I would say is that he is very close with the industry. He particularly likes the area that the member is based in. I have been up there recently and I was told about his recent and frequent visits to that area.

I think that in many ways COVID-19 has been kind to regional tourism businesses. In fact, we have had seven reported record months in a row. I remember earlier in the year when we had great months in January, February and March, I thought, ‘That’s fantastic! Three record months, the highest months in the history of the state in terms of regional visitation, but it must be going to drop down in April,’ but it didn’t. It actually increased in April, increased in May, increased in June again, and in fact I think also July was bigger than June. I think every month, seven months in a row, record months, for regional visitation is great news.

But what we need to do is improve that offering. I think there is a permanent pivot. I think people who previously went overseas during winter have actually decided to spend time in their own backyard and they love what they see. I think this is hugely popular, this TIDF, but I am very happy to follow up the specific issue raised by the member for Frome and come back to him with an answer.