Wednesday 15 September 2010

Steve gives Warren a lesson in business diplomacy 101

In the Australian Financial Review Warren Entsch, the new the Federal member for Leichhardt, voiced his support for Jetstar's decision to increase flights to Cairns.

"I will soon meet with Virgin Blue chief executive John Borghetti," Entsch says.

Tourism Queensland figures show Japanese arrivals in Cairns fell 33% in the 12 months to March, with unemployment in our region topping 15%, along with property developers, including the Hedley Group, collapsing.

Warren Entsch criticised the slow renewal of tourist facilities and resorts such as Port Douglas's signature resort Sheraton Mirage, which he says has been exacerbated by the "short-sightedness of Council and the State Government."

MP for Barron River, Steve Wettenhall, has taken strong offence to the claim, telling State Parliament yesterday there was many things the Bligh government is supporting tourism in tropical North Queensland.

"I also bring to the attention of the House some of the new investments being made in the region by the private sector, Steve Wettenhall said. "Over the past 18 months to two years, the tourism industry throughout Queensland, but particularly in the tropical north, has experienced some of the toughest operating conditions of all time."

The vast majority of tourism businesses have traded through these tough times and have done all they can to retain their loyal, dedicated and skilled staff. For that I think they deserve our recognition and thanks.

During this period some businesses have been able to take advantage of the highly competitive conditions in the construction sector to make investment decisions and to reinvest in renewal and refurbishment projects.

I also think those investment decisions deserve to be acknowledged and recognised. It was disappointing, then, to read in the Australian Financial Review on 6 September 2010 a report that the newly elected federal Liberal National Party member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, has criticised the slow renewal of tourism facilities and resorts which he said had been exacerbated by the short-sightedness of the council and the state government.

Mr Entsch was back in his job only a few days before he was talking negatively about one of the most important industries in his electorate.
"I think it is a disgrace that Mr Entsch has launched such an ignorant attack on the tourism industry. He wasted no time in shooting off his mouth. He is either ignorant of what both the government and the private sector are doing or he is deliberately misleading his constituents." - Steve Wettenhall, Barron River MP

Wettenhall says that the new federal parliament has not even sat and Mr Entsch is already talking down the tropical north, talking down the tourism industry and talking down the livelihoods of thousands of people across his region.

"I am sick of the negativity. We need to be talking up our state, we need to be talking up tourism and we need to be talking up the contributions that particularly the private sector is making in very difficult circumstances," Steve Wettenhall says.

"So I will remind Mr Entsch that the following investments have been made in tourism in the tropical north—many in his electorate. He should be aware of them. There has been a major investment at the Paradise Palms golf resort in Palm Cove in my electorate," he says.
"There has been a major refurbishment at the Hilton in Cairns. There has been a full refurbishment and global brand refreshment of the Holiday Inn in Cairns. There has been the construction of the Cairns Central Plaza Apartment Hotel. There has been a major refurbishment of the Pullman Reef Hotel and rebranding. There has been a major refurbishment at the Rydges Plaza Hotel at Cairns and minor refurbishments at the Rydges Esplanade Resort at Cairns, the Sabaya and Tradewinds. There has been a combined $20 million refurbishment of the Castaways resort at Dunk Island and at Elandra at Mission Beach," Steve Wettenhall told the Queensland State Parliament."

"What an insult to all of the business owners who have made these investment decisions and who, unlike Mr Entsch, have expressed confidence in the future of tourism in the region. Not only have these investments been made; they are paying off. Just today it is reported in the Cairns Post that average hotel room rates in Cairns are on the rise and that hoteliers have welcomed the news."

"The general manager of the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, Adrian Williams, is quoted in today’s Cairns Post as saying that the results are ‘consistent with our view we have bottomed out and should now expect to see positive movement in revenue per available room’," Wettenhall says. "Only yesterday leading cruise operators gave the thumbs up to the state government’s $11.2 million cruise terminal redevelopment of the heritage wharves."

Steve Wettenhall has accused Warren Entsch of attempted to undermine the consensus that has been achieved on the need for a new cultural arts precinct, to which the State Government has committed $40 million towards its construction.

"I say to Mr Entsch that it is time to think, act and talk positively for the benefit of tourism and our region."


CBD Warrior said...

All the labor hacks in town can argue about how well they've done. The proof is in the pudding. With 10%+ unemployment persisting, NO investments in any new businesses (film studio, technology projects, green industries) and 30% empty shopfronts in the CBD, clearly they've not done shit.

Them's the facts, boys. Stop playing politics and DO SOMETHING.

Oddly, the biggest boost for the region is going to be the result of Oprah Winfrey's visit. And she ain't labor.

Leuco Gaster said...

Thanks for publishing this, Mike, and congratulations to Steve Wettenhall for a passionate defence of our tourism industry.

Warren Entsch has shown yet again that he is a destructive and divisive force, truly a 20th Century man.

Anyone who understands tourism knows very well, that the only reason that visitor numbers have declined in the last couple of years is the extraordinarily high value of the Australian dollar, against the currencies of our visitors' countries.

They still want to come here - it has simply become much more expensive.

Jezabel said said...

and what has Steve Wettenhall done for Northern Beaches tourism in particular, and for his constituents during his term, one might ask?

Two things come to mind...

1) Sweat FA

2) Sweat FA

Oliver Redlynch said...

And so it begins ... mis-representation of any facts, more spin from both sides that we are sick of, and lots of excuses for bugger all getting done. God help Cairns. The reality Warren is YOU ARE IN OPPOSITION. If you continue to slag them off why should they be willing to do anything for us? (If I call you a blustering buffoon Warren, would you feel any more or any less inclined to assist me?) Remember why you were elected by the local people, cut the party political crap and posturing and actually do your job. And that means working with who-ever its necessary - to achieve the desirable outcomes for Cairns.

:Kevin-John: Morgan. said...

Methinks Mr Wettenhall should not go around accusing ANYONE of anything at all, considering his farcical tenure as a lawyer!
When visitors to our shores become residents, work and live in our community, they should also have peace of mind and faith in the legal process here. What a joke!
The fact that a man was falsely accused, falsely arrested, and then humiliated in the local court by witnesses who cannot even spell their own name, leaves me very worried at what Mr Wettenhall will try next.
Mate, get off your non-performing horse, and fix up what you left behind, before trying to organise your political nest-egg, OK?
Where do these people from the "legal fraternity" get off, by thinking they can just leave their office and run for political office.
How dare they!
When are people out there going to wake up and demand that lawyers and their ilk, should be banned from ALL parliaments?
We have already proven that a country can run just fine without people of your kind, so do us all a favour and help, rather than hinder.
There is a case you left behind which is not going to go away, until their is CLOSURE!
If the electors of Cairns learned of these facts, you would never have received one vote.

yk said...

Look, Steve is a nice person but nothing ever seems to get done. I always get the impression that all of our local State members have, as their first alligence, their Party. Who, as we all know, giveth and taketh away. The people of their respective electorates will get their active support only when it suits Party policies. Otherwise we get lots of sympathy, kind words and empty promises.

We are plagued with more Labor members than there are fleas on the back of the average dog, yet our unemployment rate is around 10% or more. Why? Because it suits Party policy!

At least with Entsch we will have a Member who will not be afraid to speak his mind.

Syd Walker said...

I agree Oliver. The challenge for Warren is to demonstrate he can deliver more for his constituents than an effective independent in the same position.

If not, he may be the last Liberal or National Party politician to represent Leichhardt.

I think a growing number of people are weary of partisan point-scoring. We want good, rational policies and outcomes - not grandstanding.

If the Labor, Liberal and National Parties can find 100% agreement over something as unpopular as continuing the military occupation of Afghanistan, why on earth can't they start agreeing about things that actually matter to Australians?

Danny Betros said...

Steve Wettenhall
What a load of crap!
Specifically what have YOU done for Tourism in your electorate?
All of the projects you talked about are private enterprise and a lot that were planned and started long before any downturn without any input from you.
We rarely if ever hear from you with new ideas or initiatives. In fact you do nothing and have no get up and go. As a former Legal Aid lawyer you're only used to sitting on your arse and living off the public purse.Nothing has changed.
However there are 2 outstanding quotes that you have made that will always be remembered

1 The building of the bikeway from Aeroglen to the CBD will result in a drop in demand for CBD carparks at the new 10000m2 Government Office Building as so many more people will ride to work. ( This is gold medal for stupidity) Xmas 2009

and my all time favourite

2 At the last State Election on polling day at Redlynch State School at noon you were handing out "How to vote" cards for yourself and telling people to "vote for Anna Bligh jobs not jobs cuts"
When my wife and I introduced ourselves as we were stunned that you weren't even introducing yourself to voters as there local sitting member you said " people aren't interested in local issues on election day either is the Cairns Post, I can't get any publicity on local issues"
You then walked away and continued with your recorded "Party Line".

You are a waste of space and a burden on Cairns.You have no idea how business functions as you, like most of our Council have no relationship with the Business Community.
Try thinking of a new idea that will help Tourism? That'll be good.

katecolnath said...

Two words for wettenhall and friends

Alison Alloway said...

yk, as a fourth generation local and a long standing employee at the old Dept of Social Security, I know that unemployment in Cairns has always been an issue. Cairns was for many years, "the end of the line" for the itinerant workers, who finished cane cutting, or fruit picking, registered for the dole here, then wended their way back to wherever they came from. Over the years I worked at Centrelink, we saw large increases in unemployed moving from the Southern States mostly in the winter period. When I was supervisor of the front unemployment benefit counter, (1990/92) it wasn't unusual for us to see over 2,000 people a day in the winter periods. Sure unemployed gravitated here because it is cheaper to live in a warmer climate, but the tourist industry, the region and life style also attracted them.
I did a survey and wrote a report for Management on the fluctuating unemployment conclusion was that this city in particular will always experience fluctuating numbers of unemployed.
We have to live with it. Lastly I don't believe you can blame this on any politician.

:Kevin-John: Morgan. said...

"yk", is correct when saying there are more Labor members than there are fleas, but why stop there?
What about the Liberals?
There's just as many of those kind, and remember well, what THEY did!
The famous Howard statement that will carry him to his grave, which saw the Liberal fleas attach themselves to the top dog, and also saw MANY small businesses here and around the country, close forever: "My government will NEVER introduce a GST".
There are always two trained dogs in parliament with many fleas attached, all sucking the life from their leaders and the public.
Remember, most of these people are lawyers(dogs) who led a life of sucking the life from the entire community, why would you want them
running the country?
POLI = many/conglomerate.
TICS = muscular twitches making life uncomfortable.

P.S. Why can't Labor spell their name correctly?

Thaddeus said...

Danny Betros, I thought the State Government funded an awful lot of publicity for the tourist industry??? What were all those ads on TV about "Hey hey we're Queensland..." sung to the tune of the old Monkees song? Hasn't some Government just recently committed three million for Oprah Winfrey's visit? Isn't Val Schier currently in China trying to sell Cairns and tourism there?

Danny Betros said...

Qld Tourism promoted Hey Hey for all of Qld as it does continually every year.The State Gov did boost up its funding for extra campaigns.
Australian Tourism Commission and NSW Government is funding Oprah.
My comments are directed specifically for the Barron River Electorate where I beleive there is a lack of initiative from our member

hieronymus bosch said...

Man, i hate tourism.

The first 'victims' of globalisation many years ago were the poor sods who worked in the tourism industry. Benefits a few, gives part time seasonal work to the rest.

KitchenSlut said...

"Anyone who understands tourism knows very well, that the only reason that visitor numbers have declined in the last couple of years is the extraordinarily high value of the Australian dollar, against the currencies of our visitors' countries."

Cairns economy is sensistive to exchange rates over time and they are significant for tourism but this comment is too simplistic and narrow in the extreme. The Yen is now higher than before the GST, 100Y buying $1.30 against levels around $1.00 during much of 07/08. Looking at the last 5 years there doesn't seem much short term correlation at all between the Yen and Japanese tourism. During most of the cited tourism fall following the GFC fallout the Yen was actually trading well above the 5 year average v the $AUD. The $AUD has now recovered pre-GFC levels mostly but has actually not been extraordinarily high at all for a good period of the last few years.

You may have noted last week in the tourism survey report that China is now our 4th largest and fastest growing market. If you want a currency strategy for tourism you should be lobbying for the Ruddbot to immediately embark to Beijing and employ his mandarin to convince the comrades to let the CNY appreciate with a more flexible exchange rate policy.

This is about as likely as the Ruddbot flying on the back of a pig rather than a 747. The currency theme contains an element of a cargo cult excuse which takes the focus off what can be done to improve the quality, depth, diversity and marketing of the offering as it adjusts to a changing market position and expectations.