Anthony Albanese speaks on funding cuts to Tourism Australia budget in Tasmania

Small business: Tracy Love, Stephen Love, Ross Hart, Anthony Albanese, Chris Cairns and Jess Cairns at Little Rivers Brewery. Picture: Supplied
Small business: Tracy Love, Stephen Love, Ross Hart, Anthony Albanese, Chris Cairns and Jess Cairns at Little Rivers Brewery. Picture: Supplied

Federal Tourism opposition spokesman Anthony Albanese visited Launceston and Scottsdale on Tuesday to discuss the impacts of the federal budget’s $35 million cuts to Tourism Australia’s budget.

He said the federal budget  “ignored” Tasmania and dismissed the City Deal as a repacking of Labor’s earlier support for the University of Tasmania’s relocation.

“No road project, no rail projects, no port projects … nothing at all for Tasmania,” he said.

“This is a government that is ignoring Tasmania.”

After visiting Little Rivers Brewery in Scottsdale to highlight the influence of small businesses on regional economies, Mr Albanese visited Launceston with Bass Labor MP Ross Hart.

Mr Albanese used Little Rivers as an example of niche businesses attracting tourism dollars into small town economies.

“It is those sort of niche tourism attractions that can bring people to those regional towns like Scottsdale, that can provide a real boost to the economy,” he said.

“We know that tourism is so important to our economy, it employs some one million people right now.”

Mr Albanese said the federal budget released last week reduced funding to Tourism Australia by $35 million over four years.

“In terms of [Tourism Australia’s] role in promoting Australia to the world – in promoting Tasmania to the world – it plays a critical role, and to cut funding with no notice whatsoever is extraordinary,” he said, adding that the federal government’s planned increases to visa fees would reduce Australia’s attraction to overseas visitors.

Mr Albanese also dismissed any questions that he might take a tilt at the Labor leadership, or that Tanya Plibersek would be in a position to become Labor’s next female leader.

“I want to be part of the team, and that is the role that I play,” he said.

“I’ve got big responsibilities and I am perfectly satisfied being part of that team.”

Mr Albanese said his role was in “holding the government to account” rather than seeking leadership change.