QUESTION: Cruise ship visitation to KI

In Question Time, Mark asked the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment whether he will be formally responding to the 'Impacts of cruise ship visitation on Kangaroo Island' report.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I have previously asked the Minister about the impact of cruise ships on South Australian destinations such as Kangaroo Island. I note that, last month, consultants to Tourism Kangaroo Island prepared a report entitled 'Impacts of cruise ship visitation on Kangaroo Island'. That report, as you would imagine, went through numbers and some of the economic impacts, but in its recommendations, it points out what most people would have accepted as obvious: that is, if you have 1,000 or more people arriving at once in a destination, there will be infrastructure required to look after them.

So whilst it wasn't the brief of the consultants to Tourism Kangaroo Island to actually do detailed cost assessments or action plans, their recommendations do provide quite a long list of areas that need further investigation, further planning and further funding. They include things like improved footpaths around Penneshaw, the number of public toilets, car parking, traffic management and all manner of infrastructure.

So my questions of the Minister in relation to this are, firstly, will the Minister be formally responding to this report on the impact of cruise ship visitation on Kangaroo Island and, secondly, given that much of the infrastructure identified in this report is normally the responsibility of local councils, will the Minister be chipping in with State Government support to those councils to help them build some of the infrastructure that is required?

I note, in asking that question, that one of the recommendations is a consideration of the introduction of cruise ship passenger landing fees, which I have raised before with the Minister. I note that his former colleague, now Mayor of Kangaroo Island, Mr Pengilly, has made exactly that same call in recent times.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment): I thank the honourable member for his ongoing interest in the cruising part of the tourism offering we have in South Australia and, as we know, it's a significant part and distributes tourists to regional South Australia.

Unfortunately, with bad weather we have had a couple that have been unable to call into Kangaroo Island as the weather was too rough, although the Sea Princess, which was at Outer Harbor recently, was delayed and stayed here for a couple of days extra because it was too rough for it to leave, so I guess there are swings and roundabouts.

I haven't yet read a copy of the report the honourable member refers to and I'm not sure that it was prepared for Tourism KI (TKI). I would assume they would provide a copy to the South Australian Tourism Commission. Maybe seek a response from them, rather than me directly as Minister. Nonetheless, if it comes across my desk, I will be keen to look at it. As I said, I haven't seen it, but if the honourable member, whom I absolutely trust, is repeating accurate information from the report, the thing that—

The Hon. T.J. Stephens: He gets it wrong with GM, so why would you believe him?

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: He sometimes may be a little bit misguided on GMs, but we are not talking about GMs today. Footpaths and local infrastructure—I think that clearly is an issue for local government.

It is interesting to note that Kangaroo Island is like a lot of parts of regional South Australia—tourism now accounts for, I think, at least 50 per cent of the economic activity on Kangaroo Island with the rate base from hotels, tourism offerings and the like. Fifty per cent of the rates come from tourism operators, but it is often a challenge for local government to fund all of those bits and pieces.

The hardworking mayor, the Hon. Michael Pengilly, was a member of the House of Assembly here for, I think, 12 years. I'm there this weekend. I leave at the lovely sharp hour of half past four tomorrow morning from my house to get to the ferry. So I will be there all day tomorrow and all day Saturday, and I'm sure I will speak to the local mayor, the Hon. Mr Pengilly—Mr Pengilly is not titled honourable; he probably would like to have been, but he's not—about the report and the opportunities that we might be able to look at to make sure that we encourage council to invest in some of those areas, like public toilets and footpaths and the like, because it is important—

The PRESIDENT: Four minutes down; any supplementaries?

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I appreciate the Minister will be speaking to his former colleague the current mayor. The question is: given that these visitors do not pay rates and they are currently not even paying any passenger ship landing fees, there is no source of revenue for local council to provide these services, so will the Government step in and assist if the new infrastructure that is required is specifically required for the increased visitation caused by tourism visitors?

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment): You can arrive as a tourist in a number of ways—by a plane, by a ferry with the current SeaLink service or by cruise ship—so I don't think that to levy just the cruise ship passengers to pay for these services or facilities would be an appropriate way to do it. As I said in my answer a few weeks ago, that is a matter that is of ongoing discussion between the SATC and the local council. I think the tourism commission does spend—I don't have an exact figure—a couple of hundred thousand dollars providing services there.

Of course, there was well over $1 million spent by SATC for the tender facilities for the boats to come from the ships—the smaller boats to come into Penneshaw—so there has been a significant amount of investment, and those issues around passenger levies are an ongoing discussion. I'm sure at some point in the future, we will have some more clarity on that issue.


You can read Mark's question to the Minister about cruise ship landing fees here