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TT-Line - Tourism Industry Council Tasmania sponsorship

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 1 December 2022

Tags: TT-Line, Tourism

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, is TT-Line able to tell the committee how much you have paid for Tourism Industry Council Tasmania sponsorship, and what comes with that sponsorship? I think the terminology that is used is 'industry partner'; I do not know if that is correct in the context of the arrangement between the TICT and the TT-Line.

Mr FERGUSON - Thanks, Ms O'Connor. In a moment I will invite the Chair or the CEO to respond in whatever way they feel is appropriate. I do not know if there may be some arrangements in place to protect the commercial nature of that, but I will not put words in anyone else's mouth. We do enjoy - both as a Government, as well as the company itself - a very positive and really strong relationship with the tourism sector very generally. The Tourism Industry Council Tasmania is the pre-eminent voice - the advocate - for this vital sector for our state, and does a very good job articulating positives - and even challenges at times - as a voice to the marketplace, including to government. I will ask the chief executive -

Ms O'CONNOR - They don't represent small industry players, but okay.

Mr FERGUSON - Thank you, I'll pass to the chief executive.

Ms O'CONNOR - I wouldn't have thought it is a massive secret.

Mr DWYER - It is in the annual report.

Ms O'CONNOR - I've only sort of skimmed the numbers. Where in the annual report?

Mr DWYER - It is not in the annual report.

Ms O'CONNOR - It is not?

Mr DWYER - Again, I suppose it's commercial with the Tourism Industry Council -

Ms O'CONNOR - Really? Why would that be commercial? The Tourism Industry Council signs - well, it has numerous members, is it a membership fee that's been paid?

Mr DWYER - Yes, it's a corporate membership that we pay. It's not because we have a hotel membership. It's a corporate membership. The reason we are members of the Tourism Industry Council and, in fact, with my previous position with Federal Group and here, I've been on there for 14 years now - it is vital for TT Line to have a voice into the tourism industry, to advise the tourism industry what TT Line are doing, but what our plans are going forward - for example, what our bookings are going forward, so the industry knows what's actually happening. Obviously I am regularly in communication with all the directors of the Tourism Industry Council.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thanks, Mr Dwyer. I am bit surprised that something like a corporate membership - presumably other corporate entities here also sign up to the TICT - would be commercial in confidence. Who is the competition for the TICT? There isn't any, so what's the commercial-in-confidence clause?

Mr DWYER - Can I take that on notice?

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes, absolutely.

Mr DWYER - Minister, may I take it on notice? Through the minister.

Mr FERGUSON - Of course.

Ms O'CONNOR - If the minister is happy, I'm very happy about that.

Mr FERGUSON - I am glad you're happy, we're here to try. I will quickly also add -

Ms O'CONNOR - Tell the truth, minister.

Mr FERGUSON - I'd like it if you had a go at it a little more often. I'm comfortable if the committee is prepared to allow me to take the question on notice. It doesn't necessarily -

ACTING CHAIR - We just lost you, minister.

Mr GRAINGER - Ms O'Connor, just for the sake of clarity, there are many other sponsors of the TICT.

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes.

Mr GRAINGER - And we don't know what they pay.

Ms O'CONNOR - No, that's fair. In fact none of the members of the TICT, particularly the smaller companies, know very much about the operation of it.

Mr GRAINGER - But they are not government businesses, either.

Ms O'CONNOR - That's right.

Mr FERGUSON - I understand that the link may have just dropped out. I am happy to take it on notice. I'll jump in here because I have identified in the annual report that the company has already disclosed, during the reporting period, the company paid $90 000 in sponsorship to the TICT.

Ms O'CONNOR - Okay. Is that for one year?

Mr FERGUSON - I have just read the sentence:

During the reporting period, the company paid $90 000 (2021, $90 000) in sponsorship to the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania. Mr Bernard Dwyer, a director of the company, is also a director of the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania, for which he received no renumeration.

That is taken from part E, additional information in the notes to the annual report.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you, minister. Taking on board what you said before, Mr Grainger, can I ask what TT Line gets in return for that sponsorship? What is the service provided to TT Line for $90 000 a year?

Mr DWYER - We are the major sponsor of their tourism industry awards, so it's recognition as a major sponsor of those awards. As I said before, it's working with all the directors and the tourism industry throughout the whole year and having access through that whole year as well.

I have to say, over many years, the perception of TT Line in the tourism industry was under attack, and this has really been essential for us over the last several years in particular to make sure the tourism industry understands what TT-Line is doing and what our plans are going forward and working with them, especially for the new ships arriving so they really understand how much business is going to come into Tasmania and what needs to be done to prepare for that.

Ms O'CONNOR - Is it possible you're not being fair to TT-Line and giving credit to the TICT for whatever image recovery there was and, in fact, it's more to do with the operation of TT Line than the TICT sponsorship?

Mr DWYER - I think it's a combination of both. We will always need to have that avenue to communicate at those high levels.

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you.

Mr DWYER - My apologies, I didn't realise it was outlined in the annual report.

Ms O'CONNOR - That's all right, it saves putting a question on notice.