The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:22 :20 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the minister representing the Minister for Tourism a question about the abolition of the South Australian Tourism Commission Board.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: On Friday 7 November, I and I believe all of my colleagues, but certainly my Liberal colleagues, received a copy of a letter sent by the minister, the Hon. Leon Bignell, to the Managing Director of the Australian Tourism Export Council, Mr Peter Shelley. It is interesting to note that the letter was dated 31 October, yet as of some 15 minutes ago Mr Shelley has not ever seen a copy of that particular letter. However, the letter expressly stated that the chair of ATEC, Mr Paul Brown, who is a South Australian who lives on Kangaroo Island, was 'supportive of the government's decision', that is, to abolish the SATC board. It also stated that Mr Brown had 'accepted a position on the new industry panel'.
The minister's office went to the trouble of highlighting those two lines to me—in fact, they were underlined in the letter and I believe all copies that I have seen were underlined by the minister. The second point in the letter is correct. He has accepted a position on this conceptual panel. He did so via text message to the minister. Mr Brown was on holiday in Bali at the time and missed a call from the minister. He has never spoken or written to the minister on this matter. It seems interesting that the minister is able to say that Mr Brown was included in the process and is supportive of the government's decision. My questions to the minister are:
1.How and when did ATEC, and particularly the chair, Mr Brown, signal their support for the government's decision?
2.Can the minister produce any communication from any one major tourism representative body which expressly states the body's support for the abolition of the SATC board?
3.Given that ATEC has not, as of 15 minutes ago, received the letter that was dated 31 October, can the minister advise this chamber when it was actually posted to ATEC?
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:24 :35 ): I thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition for his important questions. If I leave aside the vast amount of opinion that was in his opening comments, I will take the very meagre questions that are left over to the Minister for Tourism in the other place and seek a response on his behalf.