“News from Ocean Magazine”

The Shadow Minister for Tourism and Regional Development will give attendees of the ASMEX Conference an insight into Australia’s potential new government’s marine and tourism strategy.

The Hon Bob Baldwin MP will be one of the high calibre speakers on the program at the 2013 Australian Superyacht and Marine Export Conference (ASMEX), 20-22 May, which caters for a cross section of industry and attracts delegates from around the world.

With the Australian federal election set for 14 September, ASMEX Conference delegates are in prime position to hear Mr Baldwin shed light on the Opposition’s strategy for marine export, manufacturing and tourism.

Current challenges such as the high Australian dollar, rising cost of manufacturing, reduced global demand, influx of imports and difficulty securing finance, it will be interesting to see if the Opposition’s strategy comprises concrete initiatives that benefit the broader marine industry.

Mr Baldwin has toured much of the country visiting key manufacturing and boating hubs. His credentials are more than portfolio deep.

“I’m a keen boatie and I’ve spent my life around the marine sector, including running diving and fishing charters, boat deliveries and marine engineering businesses,” he told Ocean. “I am looking forward to attending the Australian Superyacht and Marine Export Conference and I hope my speech will make a contribution to the current debates in the industry.

Networking is one of the most important aspects of the event, he continued. “The networking that occurs between businesses and the opportunity to promote new products and services. It will be an opportunity for people in the sector to work together and strive for new standards that take the local industry to new heights.”

Quoting conservative figures that estimate the significant value of the marine sector to the Australian economy, Mr Baldwin said boating, tourism and manufacturing impact entire communities, not just those interested in the pastime.

The Hon. Bob Baldwin MP on the road talking strategy with Stebercraft.

“The marine sector is of huge value to the Australian economy – not just in the direct employment in the manufacturing sector but also in the flow on services and, of course, the tourism sector.

“In terms of the recreational fishing industry, there are five million people involved and it’s worth around $10 billion to the economy. And we know that in the marine sector, money from boating flows right through the entire community.”

According to ABS figures and backed by the Boating Industries Alliance Australia (BIAA), the value of the marine industry nationwide is estimated at $8 billion. The broader industry, including manufacturing, boat building and repairs, marinas and retailing employs 27,000 people.

In terms of worth to the Australian economy, the marine manufacturing industry is worth roughly double the automotive manufacturing industry which is estimated at $4bn.

Tourism too, relies on waterside recreational – from luxury Great Barrier Reef charters to throwing a line in at the local dam. “Boating is a driver of Australian tourism because we have some of the best assets in the world when it comes to the marine environment – from the Great Barrier and Ningaloo reefs to Sydney Harbour and the waters around Tasmania: all of Australia is marine paradise!

“The marine sector is a significant contributor to Australia’s $96 billion tourism industry. It’s important to remember that every visitor who comes to Australia and spends here – whether it be on a new boat or on a coffee at the boat show – is boosting our export revenue.”

Mr Baldwin is adamant that governments at all levels have a duty to get the regulations right to responsibly support our marine industry and ensure all its segments flourish.

“I want to see government support industry by getting out of the way of businesses doing what they do best – creating jobs and wealth,” he said, adding “The Coalition will cut red and green tape by $1 billion a year, and we’ll axe the carbon tax that is stifling Australian competitiveness.”