The State Liberals have questioned the wisdom of the Weatherill Labor Government’s decision to axe the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) Board.
“There is no doubt of the need for reform of the State Government board structure that has grown largely unchecked and unexamined in the last few decades,” said Shadow Minister for Tourism David Ridgway.
“The Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell needs to explain why axing the Board responsible for providing independent, expert advice in an industry recently identified as a significant part of the Weatherill Government’s ‘Seven Strategic Priorities’ is a sensible decision.
“There is a very strong case for retaining the Board for an industry so critical to South Australia’s economic fortunes.
“Another problem in abolishing the primary tourism board in South Australia is that it removes any form of checks and balances on the Minister.
“Centralising power and advice in the Minister’s office where tourism operators are thin on the ground comes with an inherent risk.
“We have seen many instances when the Minister and the SATC Board disagree about what is best for the tourism industry, like the creation of a separate McLaren Vale tourism region.
“Nor can I imagine the SATC Board supporting SATC Chief Executive Rodney Harrex’s plans to decrease the number of tourism regions in South Australia.
“This rash decision could potentially compromise the integrity and marketability of individual South Australian tourism regions.
“The Minister needs to make a strong case for the axing of the SATC Board before the State Liberals will support it.”