Shadow Minister for Tourism and Commerce Vince Catania has described Labor’s disregard for the events industry as ‘short-sighted’, stating tourism and hospitality industries and related small businesses deserved as much support as a national sporting event.

“It’s cognisant of a Government that does not understand the intricacies of the industry, and the crucial link events play within our tourism and hospitality industries,” Mr Catania said.

“While we celebrate the enormous success of the AFL Grand Final in Perth last weekend – a credit to those that pulled it off in record time and how it boosted the tourism industry – clearly this hasn’t been enough for the Government to recognise the urgent need to preserve and support those in the event industry.

“It’s time the Government understood how important the multitude of small businesses and sole traders linked to the events industry are to our economy and communities, including just how long it takes to develop the varied specialist skill sets needed in WA to operate in the events space.”

Mr Catania said with the borders locked and no end in sight, it was incumbent on the Government to understand the significant impact on tourism and events and provide appropriate assistance so WA could continue growing this crucial sector.

“The enormous benefits the AFL Grand Final provided to the State were obvious but there are many other events cancelled or rescheduled such as the National Water Polo Championships and the Australia Club Water Polo Championships in December 2021 and January 2022 – both very large events transferred to Brisbane costing massive losses to the West Australian economy, people, and businesses,” Mr Catania said.

“The events industry has been teetering on a knife-edge for months without certainty or support while Labor continues to bury their head in the sand, somehow believing these industries can turn on and off whenever asked and continue to survive on sporadic opportunities and a lack of Government support.

“Past lockdown grants pale into insignificance when compared with Labor’s eye-watering $5.6 billion budget surplus during a pandemic, yet the Labor Government has still failed to provide adequate financial support to those affected by cancelled events and a drop in tourism.

“The State Government needs to play the long game and start supporting and protecting the many businesses, families, and people within tourism and events who will incur significant financial loss and personal anguish without urgent support.”