The Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio is committed to supporting rural and regional communities in Australia. A number of Resources, Energy and Tourism programs specifically target regional Australia in the areas of enhancing tourism and facilitating progress and employment in the resources and energy sectors.
Table 11 illustrates a summary of expenditure by program disaggregated between regional Australia, non-regional and non-specific location for the budget year and forward estimates for the Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio.
In 2012‑13, 45 per cent of the portfolio's grant expenditure will be made to regional Australia. This expenditure is set to increase over the forward estimates to over two-thirds.
A number of programs and related contracts are still being finalised and are not able to determine whether expenditure will occur in regional Australia and as such these funds have been identified as 'non-specific'.
The following sub-programs reported in the 2011‑12 Regional Ministerial Statement will be transferring to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on 1 July 2012:
- Solar Flagships;
- Australian Centre for Renewable Energy;
- Connecting Renewables Initiative; and
- Australian Solar Institute (from 1 January 2013).
The objectives of the ARENA are to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increasing the supply of renewable energy.
Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships Program
The Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships program supports the construction and demonstration of large scale integrated carbon capture and storage projects in Australia, which may include gasification, post-combustion capture, oxy-firing, transport and storage technologies. Complementing this program is the National Low Emissions Coal Initiative, which aims to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies that will reduce emissions from coal use.
Rum Jungle — Northern Territory
The Government has provided $8.3 million over four years from 2009‑10 to contribute to the resolution of environmental, economic development and Indigenous land access issues currently presented by the former Rum Jungle Mine site. The initiative is having a positive impact on the Batchelor region in the Northern Territory.
The project is:
- supporting ongoing management of the site to maintain the current effectiveness of the historical rehabilitation structures;
- conducting site monitoring activities and investigations which provide regional employment opportunities and will contribute to the protection of the Finniss River system; and
- bringing together the site's traditional Aboriginal owners, the Northern Territory Government and other stakeholders, including the local community, to contribute to this process.
Ethanol Production Grants Program
The Ethanol Production Grants (EPG) Program was introduced in 2002 to encourage the use of biofuels, including ethanol in transport in Australia. The EPG Program allows eligible producers of ethanol a grant of 38.143 cents per litre to offset their fuel tax liabilities and is scheduled to be reviewed after 30 June 2021.
Current recipients - Dalby Biorefinery (Dalby, Queensland), Sucrogen Bioethanol Pty Ltd (Sarina, Queensland), and Honan Holdings (Nowra, New South Wales).
Working in Partnership Program
The Working in Partnership program supports and encourages cultural change taking place in relations between Indigenous communities and the mining industries, promoting long-term, effective partnerships that benefit all stakeholders. It provides funding for regional workshops and support for committees and projects that address issues such as employment, education and training, business opportunities, cultural awareness, capacity building and economic empowerment.
Kimberley Liquefied Natural Gas Precinct
The Australian Government is working with the Western Australian Government, Woodside Energy and the Kimberley Land Council to move forward with the Kimberley Liquefied Natural Gas Precinct at James Price Point.
Implementation of Tourism 2020
Tourism is a significant industry for Australia. It generates $94.0 billion in spending and contributes nearly $34.0 billion to Australia's GDP, directly employs over 500,000 people and earns nearly ten per cent of our total export earnings, making it Australia's largest service export industry. Tourism helps to fund critical economic infrastructure like airports, roads and hotels, and also plays an important role in the economic development of regional Australia, with 46 cents in every tourist dollar spent in regional Australia.
Tourism 2020 was developed to respond to ongoing challenges and emerging opportunities for the Australian tourism industry. Providing a framework for growth, Tourism 2020 will assist tourism businesses remain competitive into the future in a dynamic global environment. The key areas of focus are China (already Australia's most valuable in-bound market), facilitating investment in tourism infrastructure, sourcing and improving labour and skills, service quality accreditation and improvement, and online capabilities.
Additional funding of $61.0 million over four years will be provided to promote Australia in the Asia Market through the Asia Marketing Fund.
T-QUAL Grants Program
In 2010, the Government allocated $40.0 million over four years for Tourism Quality Project (T-QUAL) Grants to stimulate sustainable economic growth in the Australian tourism industry. By providing matched funding to large and small-scale tourism projects, the program aims to increase Australia's supply of quality tourism products and experiences. T‑QUAL Grants was officially launched on 11 March 2011 and is assisting tourism in regional areas.
T-QUAL grants of up to $100,000 are available for smaller scale projects to support tourism industry development, particularly those with community benefits. In July 2011, the Minister for Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, announced 117 successful applicants for first round of Tourism Quality Projects grants, with a total project value of approximately $8.5 million. Applications for the second round of Tourism Quality Projects grants have closed, with announcements of successful projects expected by mid-2012.
Strategic Tourism Investment grants of up to $1.0 million are also available to fund a small number of nationally significant, larger scale projects to support Indigenous tourism, economic development and tourism employment. In March 2012, the William Angliss Institute was awarded a $1.0 million grant to deliver the Indigenous Tourism Business Quality and Skills Project. This project will fund the development of a tailored business skills curriculum at the National Indigenous Training Academy located at Ayers Rock Resort, and will stimulate Indigenous tourism enterprise and product development. Further projects are under development. It is proposed to fund around 20 projects over the four years of the program and to use these projects to pilot approaches that could be adopted more widely across Australia.
National Tourism Accreditation Framework
The Government is providing $5.5 million dollars over four years from 2010‑11 to support the implementation of the T-QUAL Accreditation Framework.
T-QUAL Accreditation is the Australian Government's quality benchmark for the tourism industry. The T-QUAL Tick identifies the tourism businesses and operators in Australia that have been endorsed as meeting the quality standards of T-QUAL Accreditation and provides one national symbol for consumers to be able to recognise quality products and services easily. The Minister for Tourism officially launched the T-QUAL Accreditation Framework in April 2011.
To date, nine quality assurance schemes have received T-QUAL accreditation, representing around 13,000 businesses. An extensive marketing campaign is underway to increase sales for T-QUAL endorsed products and services by encouraging consumers to look for the T-QUAL Tick when planning their Australian holidays. T‑QUAL endorsed business and operators, including those in regional areas, will also benefit from increased online exposure on State and national tourism websites.
Tourism Research Australia (TRA) continues to provide statistics, research, forecasts and analysis to support tourism industry development, policy development and marketing. TRA enables access to reliable, independent visitor information which can support the development of the tourism industry in regional areas and the growth of regional economies.
Through the Destination Visitor Surveys program, TRA provides destinations with high quality tourism research at the local or regional level to support their information needs and business decision-making. Projects are determined in collaboration with State tourism organisations. Visitor Profile and Satisfaction reports profile visitors to individual regional tourism destinations and report on their satisfaction with their visit. Strategic Regional Research reports focus on broader strategic issues that are affecting regional destinations. TRA also publishes annual regional data reports which provide reliable, independent visitor information to support the development of regional tourism and growth of regional economies, as well as an annual State of the Industry report.
Engagement with China
The Government provided $4.1 million in the 2010‑11 Budget to extend the highly successful China Approved Destination Status (ADS) Scheme for a further four years to 30 June 2014, directly assisting the tourism industry across Australia, including in regional areas.
Australia's China ADS Scheme allows Australia to host group leisure tour groups from China and permits the Australian Government, through Tourism Australia, to promote Australia as a leisure travel destination in China. Since the inception of the ADS Scheme in 1999, Australia has hosted over 732,000 Chinese tourists undertaking leisure travel in tour groups. The China ADS Scheme underpins the growing Chinese inbound tourism market. In 2011, Australia welcomed over half a million Chinese visitors for the first time. The Tourism Forecasting Committee forecasts that arrivals from China will grow by 7.8 per cent per year on average, to reach 958,000 arrivals in 2020.
During her visit to China in April 2011, the Prime Minister witnessed the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding on strengthening tourism cooperation with China. This agreement builds on the Approved Destination Status Scheme by encouraging further cooperation for travel between Australia and China for individuals, companies and students.
Tourism Australia Campaigns
Tourism Australia continues to market Australia as a tourism destination, both internationally and domestically. Through its campaigns, Tourism Australia seeks to stimulate consumer travel demand and increase regional dispersal of the economic benefits of tourism by encouraging people to travel throughout Australia.
Tourism Australia's global marketing campaign 'There's Nothing Like Australia' was launched in 2010 and has been widely commended in the industry. The campaign features the personal holiday experience recommendations of the Australian people and uses digital, print and broadcast media to show what is unique and iconic about Australia.
Domestic tourism remains the largest segment of the Australian tourism industry. The 'No Leave, No Life' campaign, launched in March 2009, is Tourism Australia's key domestic campaign encouraging Australians to use their stockpiled leave for an Australian holiday. The first two seasons of the 'No Leave, No Life' TV series were highly successful. Season two aired from December 2010 to January 2011 and averaged over 912,000 viewers per week. A third season ran from 3 December 2011 to 14 January 2012, achieving an average of 830,000 viewers per week or 5.83 million viewers over the entire series. Research conducted in September 2011 estimated the number of annual leave days stockpiled by Australian workers at 129.6 million days.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency
On 1 July 2012, a number of renewable energy programs will be transferring to the ARENA. The objectives of the ARENA are to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increasing the supply of renewable energy.
ARENA responsibilities will include providing financial assistance for:
- the research, development, demonstration, deployment and commercialisation of renewable energy and related technologies; and
- the storage and sharing of knowledge and information about renewable energy technologies.
ARENA will also collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate information and knowledge relating to renewable energy and related technologies and provide advice to the Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, about these technologies and the renewable energy industry.
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