Legislative Council: Wednesday, July 03, 2019


South Australian Tourism Commission Board

The Hon. T.J. STEPHENS (15:04): My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. Will the minister please update the council on the new experience and skills that are being brought to the table with the recent appointments to the South Australian Tourism Commission board?

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment) (15:04): I thank the honourable member for his ongoing interest in the tourism sector. I was pleased to officially welcome the new SATC board members recently and believe they will bring a great deal to the table as we work towards our 2020 target and then look beyond to 2030.

As we know, the new chair, Mr Andrew Bullock, is a respected national hotel and tourism industry leader. He is the chief executive of the 1834 Hotels group and has more than 17 years of business experience in this particular sector. Mr Bullock has significant on-ground experience of the challenges and opportunities that face our tourism industry. Tourism is an increasingly competitive space, but it is also one of our major economic opportunities. The SATC is having to constantly review and adapt to the changing marketplace such that we can keep the South Australian industry strong and indeed grow it.

With the 2030 tourism sector plan to be released soon, along with the government's growth agenda, it could not be a better time to bring some new perspectives to the SATC board. Of course, Mr Bullock will be joined by incoming director Mr Grant Wilckens, who is the CEO and co-founder of Discovery Parks. He obviously has very strong business acumen, he has a commerce and financial background and he knows how to build a very successful business. Mr Wilckens will be a great asset to the team.

Donna Gauci has also been appointed; she is the Chief Operating Officer of SeaLink Travel Group, and I am pleased that she has a place on the South Australian Tourism Industry Council board, so she will be well informed as not only an operator but someone with broad industry knowledge. Interestingly, the Tourism Industry Council were very keen to have representation on the board, and it was an opportune time to appoint Ms Gauci but also make sure that the SATIC board had a voice on the South Australian Tourism Commission board.

Mr Ian Horne is continuing on, as it is certainly important for the hotel industry to have a strong voice as we strive to grow tourism. I again want to extend my very sincere thanks to the previous chair, Mr Sean Keenihan. During his time as chair an additional 5,000 jobs were created, many of them in the regions, and record growth was achieved. I look forward to continuing to work with Mr Keenihan in his role with the Study Adelaide Board. I would also like to thank Julie Smith from Rawnsley Park, who has been a strong voice for our regional operators and who will undoubtedly continue to be a respected industry advocate.

We know that there is a huge amount of potential in tourism, as one of our government's key growth sectors. We constantly need to review how we are selling ourselves and competing with other states and other countries, and to that end I believe the new board will offer some very valuable perspectives. I look forward to working with the board and the commission as we get back to work on our 2030 targets.