Show us the money: Region’s ‘shovel ready’ projects
AN EMERGENCY tourism fund was announced by the State Government on Tuesday, but the question remains will Bundaberg benefit directly from the funding?
While most industries were impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown which commenced in March, the tourism industry was the hardest-hit, with one in five workers in accommodation, food services, arts and recreation, dismissed without pay.
As a result, the Palaszczuk Government announced they would commit $50 million to support tourism businesses and theme parks across the state.
Bundaberg Tourism chief executive officer Katherine Reid said there were numerous shovel-ready tourism infrastructure projects in the Bundaberg region that could commence with an injection of funding.
“This would create jobs during construction and ongoing employment in the tourism and hospitality sectors,” Ms Reid said.
“They are ready to go now, so we are hopeful that the Queensland Government will push out the criteria and open up for application as soon as possible.
“More visitor experiences, mean greater length of stay and more visitor dollars being injected into our local economy.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said she recognised tourism recovery was critical to Bundaberg’s economic recovery.
“We really need Queenslanders to fire up about seeing tourism icons in their own backyards,” she said.
“People often say to me ‘I’ve always wanted to see Mon Repos,’ well, now’s the time.”
When asked how the funding would assist the Bundaberg region, the Tourism Minister said the State Government were working on initiatives with TEQ, airlines and small businesses.
“With tourism, we have a ground up, top down strategy (and) that’s why we’re investing in a record loans and grants program to support small businesses,” Ms Jones said.
“At the same time, we’re working with the big industry players like Flight Centre and Virgin.
“In addition, TEQ are working on a campaign to directly appeal to Queenslanders to show their maroon spirit and back our tourism businesses when they need them most, particularly in world class tourism destinations like Bundaberg.”
It has yet to be confirmed which small businesses will receive the grants or which Bundaberg projects will be pushed to receive funding.