The Australian Government is unlocking the vast potential of northern Australia small and medium tourism businesses with a new team of experts deployed to provide one-on-one business advice.
This $13.6 million Northern Australia Tourism Initiative is one of a suite of new programmes announced in response to Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.
The initiative will combine the Entrepreneurs' Programme with the Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) Programme to meet the needs of tourism businesses in northern Australia.
This team of five expert Entrepreneurs' Programme Business Advisers and Facilitators have an understanding of the challenges tourism businesses in the north face and will provide businesses with the right tools and advice to overcome these challenges.
Tourism businesses in northern Australia with a turnover or operating expenditure of $750,000 or more will have access to the new dedicated team.
"The north has untapped potential, abundant natural beauty and talented people," Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne said.
"It is also close to key trading markets in Asia. More business, trade and investment in the north helps all Australians through economic growth, more jobs, higher incomes and better living standards."
"The Government is committed to seeing northern Australia reach its full economic potential. This initiative furthers this pursuit by helping northern tourism businesses to market themselves to the world and to give them a competitive edge," Minister for Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg said.
Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O'Dwyer, said the successful ASBAS programme would also be extended and tailored for small tourism businesses in northern Australia.
"Australia's two million small businesses employ over 4.5 million people and deliver $340 billion for our economy every year," Minister O'Dwyer said. In Northern Australia alone, there are around 100,000 small businesses.
"This initiative will support small tourism businesses to lead the economic charge in northern Australia."
Established not-for-profit small business advisory services can now apply for funding through the ASBAS programme to increase their capacity to provide low cost advice to tourism small businesses in northern Australia.
Small businesses can expect to be able to receive this tailored assistance from ASBAS Northern Australia Tourism Initiative providers from mid-2016.
"Tourism is one of five key sectors that will provide economic growth into the future – this initiative will help businesses in the north capitalise on that growth," Minister for Tourism Senator Richard Colbeck said.
"It will encourage more tourists to visit our spectacular rural and regional areas which will bring widespread benefits to local communities, including jobs."
"I am particularly eager to see growth in indigenous tourism - to support genuine employment while retaining connection to country. We are seeing a surge in demand for indigenous tourism experiences from our high value tourism markets."
"My office in Rockhampton is 30 minutes' drive from the waters of the Great Barrier Reef and I recognise the economic contribution tourism in northern Australia already makes to the national economy," Minister for Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan said.
"This initiative will boost that contribution still further and is great news for tourism operators throughout the north."