ALMOST half the staff at Tourism Queensland will loose their jobs when the State Government slashes 35% of the peak industry body's budget, the Opposition says.
Deputy Opposition Leader and Mackay MP Tim Mulherin said he had it on good authority the LNP would drastically slash the budget of Tourism Queensland despite promising it would be one of the four pillars of the state's economy.
"Reported cuts to the TQ budget of about one-third - from $51.5 million to $32 million - can only have a negative impact on the organisation and its role in promoting and developing our state's tourist industry," he said.
"It also means that TQ will be forced to shed 70 of its 157 staff and that can only take the industry backward, not forward as this government promised.
"This is an industry that is critical to Queensland, an industry that supports tens of thousands of jobs across the state and, at a time when the industry continues to struggle, this is a major embarrassment to our international reputation."
A spokeswoman for Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said any talks of funding cuts before the budget was even finalised were premature.
But the spokeswoman did not attempt to deny or clarify the Opposition's budget cut claims, only saying it had been made clear the need to "restructure Tourism Queensland and refocus its priorities".
"Any restructuring decisions have not yet been made. That will be a matter for the chairman and board of Tourism Queensland and the Minister in the future," she said.
The State Government has been spruiking the tourism industry as a vital tool in getting the Queensland economy back on track and put on a pivotal tourism industry conference only last month in Cairns.
The conference drafted an action plan for the future of tourism, which included growing overnight visitor expenditure in Queensland to $30 billion by 2020.
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