New Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott has raised eyebrows when he deliberately axed the Tourism Minister from his Cabinet. A Gold Coast tourism industry leader described the move of Mr Abbott as alarming.
Martin Winter, Gold Coast tourism head, said the absence of a Tourism minister may cause a division of responsibilities. Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb will be left in charge of international tourism, while Industry Minister Ian McFarlane will be responsible for boosting domestic tourism.
Mr Winter said Australia not having a minister solely dedicated to tourism is alarming. He said Australia's tourism industry like in Gold Coast deserve a representative to serve as Cabinet member in Tony Abbott's government.
Mr Winter highlighted the great contribution of tourism to Australia's Gross Domestic Product. The industry provides thousands of jobs to Australians and boosts the nation's image to foreign tourists. He said the Gold Coast tourism industry will be following the issue and seek appropriate action.
In Gold Coast alone, the tourism industry employs 18,500 people based on Gold Coast City Council statistics. Paterson MP Bob Baldwin, who served as shadow tourism minister while the Coalition was still the opposing party, has now been named Parliamentary Secretary for Industry. This is a demotion from his previous position.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott defended his decision and said tourism was still on the agenda of the Coalition government. He said he wanted to promote tourism through a deregulation plan to "make it easier for the tourism industry."
Moncrieff MP Steve Ciobo said Mr Abbott had made it clear that two ministers will handle the concerns of the tourism industry in Australia.
Mr Ciobo said people should be less concerned about the title. He assured Gold Coast that it will be well-served since the Coalition has a good track record for delivering what the tourism industry needs.
The prime minister has revealed the members of his Cabinet. Fifteen of them served under John Howard's government with years of experience under their belts. Julie Bishop, the deputy prime minister-elect, is the only woman to be appointed to the Cabinet out of 19 members.