Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

SUCCESS: Visit Victoria chief executive officer Peter Bingeman says Bendigo's blockbuster exhibitions has been a "game changer" for the city.

SUCCESS: Visit Victoria chief executive officer Peter Bingeman says Bendigo's blockbuster exhibitions has been a "game changer" for the city.

Boosting regional tourism

Boosting regional tourism has never been more important for Victoria’s overall economic strength and prosperity than it is in 2017.

While international tourism has been one of Victoria’s great success stories the split of overnight spending by all visitors is surprisingly even at 36 per cent for international visitors, 32 per cent for interstate visitors and 32 per cent for intrastate visitors.

In the Bendigo Goldfields region alone tourism accounts for 9.5 per cent of gross regional product and supports 10.4 per cent of all jobs.

Fifty-five per cent of the intrastate visitor economy is driven by Melbournians visiting regional attractions, and intrastate tourists actually deliver significantly more economic value ($5.9 billion a year) than our biggest international sector the China market ($2.2 billion).

But regional tourism traditionally faces sharp high and low seasons cycles. Visit Victoria, which was created through the merger of Tourism Victoria and the Victorian Major Events Company to revitalise our visitor economy will therefore focus on shoulder and low seasons, encouraging Melbournians to spend “one more night, have one more dinner and one more coffee” in regional Victoria.

A key part of this strategy will be the development of “game changing” experiences that are immune to the traditional high and low cycles. Bendigo is already blessed with a fabulous range of tourist attractions and cultural and heritage experiences.

But a perfect example of a “game changer” is the Bendigo Regional Art Gallery’s blockbuster exhibitions which have driven a rapid expansion of local food and wine experiences and expanded the city’s brand to include arts and culture.

The Victorian government’s $20 million Regional Events Fund has already allocated $9.5 million for events which will bring thousands of new visitors from Victoria, interstate and overseas to our regions.

Our regional infrastructure strategy has three core elements, nature-based tourism, connectivity and providing the world class essentials – accommodation, activities, transport and visitor experiences.

Nature-based experiences are the single biggest driver for international visitors and free independent travellers are the fastest growing group of international visitors.

They increasingly eschew tours and groups and need good roads and good internet access. Data blackspots are a major negative. I look forward to working across the industry together to continue to drive the visitor economy and ensure we hit our target of $36.5 billion in visitor spend and 320,000 jobs.

Peter Bingeman, Visit Victoria CEO

Standing up for families

Mr Sadler (“Sorting truth from fiction”, Bendigo Advertiser, March 14) is not across the facts of the penalty rates debate.

Labor does not support the Fair Work Commission’s decision on penalty rates because it was wrong.

Labor's Bill to protect penalty rates lets the FWC continue with its work whilst protecting the take home pay of low paid workers.

This is not a new phenomenon. We did it in the 90s when the FWC’s predecessor, the AIRC, wouldn't act to grant superannuation for all workers.

Mr Sadler also omits the point that companies with an EBA that has lower Sunday penalty rates have to pay more during the week as a trade-off.

Bendigo has over 4700 workers reliant on Sunday penalty rates who will have their take home pay cut by Mr Turnbull's refusal to act on penalty rates. I don't think that's good enough. That pay keeps the local economy turning over and food on the table.

Cutting people's take home pay affects us all whether we are on penalty rates or not.

As the member for Bendigo I will stand up for the take home pay of all Bendigo families.

Lisa Chesters, Member for Bendigo

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