Harvey: tourism in Broome underdone

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State opposition leader Liza Harvey.
Camera IconState opposition leader Liza Harvey. Credit: The West Australian

Newly appointed Opposition leader Liza Harvey has slammed the McGowan Government’s approach to investing in Broome tourism, claiming it has failed to capitalise on major opportunities.

But Premier Mark McGowan has hit back, saying more people than ever are visiting the town and his Government has made it easier by making airfares cheaper.

Speaking to the Broome Advertiser during an overnight visit to the town earlier this month, Ms Harvey, pictured said a number of measures, including direct flight routes, had not been backed to the Government’s full potential.

“I think Broome and the Kimberley are those areas that have always been a little underdone,” she said.

“I have been talking to a few of the tourism operators and hearing their frustration in trying to be heard and get the message into markets they know they will be successful in.”

Ms Harvey said the non-stop flights between Melbourne and Broome, as well as the recent Singapore trial route, were examples of projects the State Government had not pumped enough resources into.

“There is not a great deal of market penetration in Victoria to take full advantage of that direct flight and the opportunity for “Melburnians” to come up to the Kimberley,” she said. “And I think initiatives like the (Singapore trial) need to be supported by a good marketing budget.

“It is something we would look at throwing more money at because you need an integrated strategy around making sure people hop on the flight.”

Mr McGowan said his Government had done more for Kimberley tourism in two years than the Liberal Party had done in two terms in office.

“Our discounted flights between Perth and Broome has seen a huge boost in visitors to Broome, with more than 20,000 fares purchased in the initial trial period alone — it has been so successful that the trial has been extended,” he said.

“Direct flights from Kununurra to Melbourne will commence in May, 2020.

“Ms Harvey’s comments are not backed up by facts. It is nothing more than just another desperate political attack in the media.”

Ms Harvey also backed the Kimberley Marine Supply Base proposal to construct a floating jetty alongside the existing Kimberley Ports Authority-operated Port of Broome.

She said there were major gaps in access to services in the region that needed to be urgently addressed, especially around the area of mental health.

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