Australia’s peak accommodation body, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), praised the Federal Government’s choice of Steve Ciobo to replace retiring Trade Minister, Andrew Robb.
Mr Ciobo was elevated to the Trade & Investment Ministry from his current role as Minister for International Development and the Pacific. Prior to that, he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Investment. Mr Robb will continue his involvement in the trade portfolio till the election as ‘Special Envoy for Trade’.
TAA CEO, Carol Giuseppi, said that Mr Ciobo had shown throughout his time in Parliament that he understood the potential of the tourism sector and its value to the economy.
“Mr Ciobo is an excellent successor to Andrew Robb, and with tourism now considered one of the country’s ‘first-tier’ industries, we are confident he will work closely with Tourism Minister, Senator Richard Colbeck, to provide positive advocacy for the industry,” said Ms Giuseppi.
“Andrew Robb proved himself to be one of Australia’s most respected and successful Trade Ministers, and we were extremely impressed with his grasp of the tourism industry and his desire to further its potential. He contributed significantly to the industry through his work in securing free trade agreements, bilateral airline agreements, and the promotion of development and investment in Australia, particularly in Northern Australia.
“Tourism and trade go hand in hand, as has been reflected by Australia’s outstanding inbound visitor figures over the past two years. We now attract over one million Chinese, and further reforms to visa processing and investment in tourism promotion can accelerate this growth.
“To have a successor with similar interests and experience of our sector will be welcomed by the whole tourism and hospitality industry.
“Mr Ciobo has seen first-hand the importance of the tourism sector with his parents being involved in the industry in Cairns as he was growing up. He now represents the electorate of Moncrieff on the Gold Coast, which has Surfers Paradise at its heart, so few people in Parliament are better placed to understand the economic value that the tourism industry can deliver.
“The emphasis will need to be on driving demand through partnerships and facilitating greater flexibility in attracting labour and skills to meet the needs of a growing industry – and we are confident that the new Minister will provide support for the industry at the Cabinet table.”