A prominent civic leader has called for new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to appoint a federal tourism minister when he reshuffles his cabinet this week.
Senior Liberal Party sources have suggested a close friend of Mr Turnbull, Moncrieff MP Steven Ciobo, as a viable candidate for promotion to a ministry.
Mr Abbott’s ministry did not include a tourism portfolio, with the responsibilities for the industry falling to Trade Minister Andrew Robb. The tourism industry is enormous, however, pumping around $43.5 billion into Australia’s GDP as well as providing jobs for almost a million people.
According to Andrew Robb, the tourism sector is also the economy’s largest services export, at $33 billion annually.
Tourism and political identities are understandably keen for Mr Turnbull to nominate someone for the position.
Gold Coast Tourism chairman Paul Donovan said he hoped the new Prime Minister recognised the industry’s importance.
“I think everyone believes in the importance of tourism and that it should have a stand-alone ministry,” he said.
“They need to pick the best person for the job which will be someone who understands what it means for Australia.”
Party sources have suggested Mr Ciobo would be an ideal candidate for the job if the position is recreated, given his position as the most senior Gold Coast-based MP and his longstanding support for Mr Turnbull.
Fellow Gold Coast parliamentarian, Fadden MP Stuart Robert, is also being discussed as a serious candidate for a Cabinet position.