ATEC View – March 2012
/images/frontpage pointers/regular columns/Felicia_Mariani.jpg
ATEC busy with submissions to government
on a range of vital issues
By Felicia Mariani, managing director, Australian Tourism Export Council
ATEC has now delivered its Working Holiday Visa 417 (WHV 417) position paper to the Minister for Immigration. It has been developed in close collaboration with our Backpacker and Youth Tourism Advisory Panel (BYTAP).
Implementation of the paper’s recommendations have the capacity to increase annual Gross Domestic Product by over $85 million – with a potential boost of up to $700 million over a 10 year period.
Our calculations of the financial impact on the economy are based on economic modelling by the Centre for International Economics (CIE).
Importantly, ATEC is the only industry organisation that brings to bear industry input at a national level via the Industry Advisory Panels that we can draw upon for guidance.
ATEC has been strongly advocat-ing for the extension of the WHV “regional” classification to the tourism industry – allowing visa holders to extend their visa by 12 months after completing 88 days of work in a regional industry – and this measure alone is expected to deliver over $28 million annually in additional GDP.
Broadly we are calling for:
- Employment for 88 days in “tourism and hospitality” in regional Australia to be included as part of the 12 month extension program for the second WHV 417;
- The costs and financial requirements of applying for WHVs to be held constant or reduced;
- The qualifying age range to be increased from 18 to 30 up to 35 in line with other countries; and
- Multiple visa applications to be permitted, one between 18-25 years of age and a second one from 26- 30/35.
The WHV paper was just one part of busy activity in the advocacy arena for ATEC in the opening months of 2012.
We also made a submission to the Fair Work Act review, taking up the issue of the industry’s productivity capacity and how the Act impacts on the 24/7 nature of tourism businesses.
In particular, we have concerns around weekend and public holiday pay rates which are crippling our industry.
Another submission by ATEC was to the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century where we outlined some of the key challenges to the industry in meeting the opportunities of China and the broader Asia market.
We raised issues such as EMDG (Export Market Development Grants), visa processing times, industry readiness and regional competition. Other reviews that ATEC will be involved with include the Modern Awards and the Template Labour Agreement.
Meanwhile, ATEC has launched its first education program for the year with a China development workshop in Adelaide in partnership with the South Australian Tourism Commission.
The program works with tourism businesses to help them enter into the China and broader Asian markets.
South Australia is the first state to offer its local industry this specially designed program which is the first to acknowledge the varying levels of preparedness of tourism operators to effectively engage with China and other eastern markets.
Delivered in conjunction with key partners, Chris Flynn (Pacific Asia Travel Association) and Richard Beere (Fastrak Asian Solutions), it offers three streams – “Getting Export Ready”; “Getting Asia Ready”; and “Getting China Ready”.
- We have created a new general manager position to focus on our member and partner servicing.
- Mining magnate, Clive Palmer, is to be the keynote speaker at this year’s ATEC symposium on the Sunshine Coast, May 2-4.
ATEC View column appears quarterly.