The Labor’s spokesperson for Tourism, John Graham MLC and Country Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh yesterday announced Labor’s Five Point Future Tourism and Infrastructure Plan for the Byron Shire.
The Plan is designed to ensure that the benefits of the local tourism industry are maximised through job creation, regional tourist dispersal and support for sustainable local businesses to grow.
‘The Northern Rivers Food Tourism Strategy will ensure we are maximising the opportunities for local farmers and producers to promote their products to the world,’ said Mr Graham. ‘It will encourage tourists to get out of Byron Bay and see the rest of the unique and beautiful region. It will support local jobs and local businesses.’
‘I grew up here and went to Byron Bay High School,’ said Mr Pugh. ‘I have seen my community change over the last few decades so I really understand the impact that tourism is having.
The integrated plan is designed to spread the benefits of tourism so that our whole community shares in the prosperity. It will help alleviate the impacts that tourism has on roads and community infrastructure.
Byron Shire gets over 2.1 million tourists per year and are supported by just 15,000 ratepayers. Labor recognises that the Byron Shire contributes significantly to NSW tax revenue and state government support is required to help deal with the impacts of tourism.
‘There is simply too much focus just on Byron Bay. We need to ensure that other communities across the Byron Shire are also seeing the benefits of tourism. Our Five Point Plan will focus on fixing our roads and on community grants across the whole Byron Shire including Ocean Shores, Mullumbimby, Bangalow, Brunswick Heads and Federal, not just on more toilet blocks for Main Beach,’ said Pugh.
Labors Five Point Future Tourism and Infrastructure Plan for Byron Shire includes: $16 million dollars to fix every ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ rated road in the shire. Labor will also review local roads, such as Ewingsdale Road, to see whether it should be transferred to state responsibility; $12 million for a Byron Shire Future Fund to provide grants for community and tourism infrastructure right across the Byron Shire to help alleviate the impacts of tourism and spread its benefits; $240,000 commitment to implement the Northern Rivers Food Tourism strategy in conjunction with Northern Rivers Foods to encourage tourists to move away from Byron Bay to the rest of the region, showcase our unique agricultural products and support local businesses and local jobs; Labor will deal with Short Term Holiday Letting to ensure we get the balance right between ensuring a strong tourism market and maintaining a strong and robust community of local residents that can live and work in peaceful enjoyment, by reforming rental laws to ensure locals have stability in their homes. These reforms include ending no fault evictions and encouraging landlords to sign 12 month leases to stop people being kicked out over the busy tourist season.
‘The number one issue that locals and tourists raise with me is the state of our local roads. Labor will ensure that the state government steps in to fix the worst of our local roads.
‘I am committed to continuing to advocate for long term solutions to the impacts on tourism on our community and our Five Point Plan is a great start if Labor is elected on Saturday.”
‘We want to support local sustainable food tourism and keep jobs in the region so that kids on the Northern Rivers don’t have to leave the area to get a decent job,’ said Mr Graham.