STEVEN CIOBO: To the Premier, it's great to be in the great state of Western Australia, and to my colleagues as well, of course my counter part on the state level, Paul. It's good to be here in Western Australian with you. Distinguishing guests, ladies and gentlemen. Well, this is an opportunity for Perth, Western Australia, to be the new gateway to Australia. My focus as Australia's Tourism Minister is what we can do to keep growing our magnificent tourism industry. And for too long, for many international visitors, the Western Australian jewels have been off limits. Not because it's been unavailable to them, but it's been too hard to get to often, because there's been such a focus on the east coast. Well, that all changes today. As of today, there will be more opportunity than ever before for us to continue to showcase and highlight all the very best parts of Australia, including some of the most magnificent and iconic parts of Western Australia. We have around 730,000 English tourists that come to Australia each year, and I'm determined to grow their expenditure and grow their numbers into Australia. We are only now a matter of a less than two weeks or thereabouts, until we start the Commonwealth Games, in my home town, the Gold Coast. So, I want to take this opportunity to thank Qantas for the magnificent work that they do together with Tourism Australia, to showcase all regions of Australia to the world, and to continue to build the case about how it's never been easier or, frankly closer, for people from the UK and indeed more broadly across Europe to come to Australia. So whether they're coming for something like the Commonwealth Games, or coming to see the brand new Optus Stadium that I had the pleasure of going through this morning to watch an iconic cricket game or even Aussie rules, it will be easier than it’s ever been. That has been helped by Qantas' decision to make this investment. [inaudible] I have the chance as Trade Minister to see the insides of your lounges all around the world. Each time I walk into one, when I see a new lounge, I can see the standard just continues to improve and get better. That's a credit to the healthy financial position of Qantas, which is the direct consequence of your involved stewardship. But it's also a testament to the team that I know that sits behind you, that have the privilege of wearing the Qantas uniform. And one of the aspects that was touched upon last night [inaudible], when you step on board a Qantas aircraft, your Australian adventure starts right then and there. In that respect, to all of the men and women that make up the team at Qantas, you are the public face of Australia to the rest of the world. So when they get on board the aircraft on a grey and miserable day in London, and let's be frank, that's probably what it's going to be, and then have the chance to experience the sunny disposition that is the Qantas crew, start to enjoy the magnificent Australian food and beverage, which we'll have the pleasure of Neil catering for us today. Neil, we're very much looking forward to that. But most importantly, as I said, the reason to come to Australia, our closeness, the value has never been doubted. And Tourism Australia together with Qantas, as well as all the Federal Government agencies, are so pleased to see this tremendous [inaudible] so we look forward to seeing not only Qantas soar, but our inbound numbers soar, and their spending in Australia soar which ultimately, means that the Australian economy and Australian jobs will be the beneficiaries. We thank you so much.
- Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555