TOURISM & WEST TAMAR HIGHWAYS
Mr FINCH - One of the complaints that we have relates to the main road to the west Tamar from Devonport. A lot of people use the Frankford main road. It should be the Frankford highway. They do a loop around. I am just curious about whether Tourism Tasmania is going to keep in mind that that road needs to be improved constantly and kept up to standard because as much as there might be a desire to route people on the Bass Highway, they are using the Frankford highway. It is important to us in the West Tamar to have people come and go that way.
Ms WRIEDT - It comes back to what I said earlier about the relationship Tourism Australia has with DIER, which is one of ongoing dialogues. It might be one that you might want to draw their attention to during the Estimates or have someone do it for you.
Mr FINCH - How is the relationship with DIER? Can somebody give me some idea there. Is there a spirit of cooperation between the two departments? Are they at arm's length? Is there a cooperation with DIER and the tourism industry?
Mr GIASON - The Tourism Development Steering Committee has the heads of agencies of all the land managers, DIER, DPIWE and Tourism, Parks, Heritage and the Arts as well. We have a range of formal meetings on a monthly basis with regards to infrastructure issues. There is a signage protocol between Tourism and DIER that relates to the fact that DIER administer the signing policy but we develop the strategy in the early days. Logically, we need DIER to be the administrators of that because they have the infrastructure accordingly. They are doing that and they have the resources accordingly. Through the Development Steering Committee, we do have debates about different pressure points and different issues. This has not been brought to my attention by any members of the tourism industry at all. It has not been on the radar as of this time. It has enormous consequences with respect to other priorities that might be within DIER's portfolio as well but we have not had that dialogue.
I must state that we wish to ensure that visitors are given clear directions on major routes and arterial routes so that we are comfortable that they will not get lost. I am not suggesting they would but we have a responsibility to ensure that where we are funnelling tourists and visitors there is a network of signage and infrastructure that supports their tripping around the State. In saying that, we know that more and more repeat visitors who have a higher level of confidence about the destination do tend to trip off in all sorts of different directions. Our road system is regarded pretty highly by all of them as well. They have a high level of confidence about our roads.
Mr FINCH - There is a lot of comment in our community from locals knowing that there is a huge increase in traffic on the Frankford highway. They are concerned because there are more logging trucks and heavy vehicles plus pedestrians trying to walk pretty close to Exeter. It is not being upgraded as much as it should be. You mentioned signage and your cooperation with DIER. It is this cooperation I am questioning with respect to DIER. Some signage, tourism signage particularly, just takes so long to get altered and changed. Are you happy with the situation that you have with DIER? Are they as responsive as you would like them to be, particularly with respect to signage?
Mr GIASON - Yes, there is a strategy and a clear policy that makes it very easy for people if, in fact, they undertake those clear, easy steps to have their signs erected. There are problematic intersections because of safety and other problems and people might not be able to erect signs as easily. There is a process. The responsible officer sat within Tourism up until April and has now been transferred to DIER. The issue may have been with us more than DIER if that is the case because it has only been a short-term transfer. DIER has responsibility for the funds in the budget. That is why it was better for the officer to be within the DIER infrastructure. The guidelines and the actual instructions are pretty clear. I think we have been complimented by many of the operators that it is not a laborious system now, although there are some clear provisions. One of them is that an operator must be accredited to have a sign and so forth. This is really a step-by-step process. Two days is too long, I suspect, knowing operators as I do. It is definitely trying to streamline the whole process of signage. Whether it will ever be streamlined to the nth degree, I am not confident about that but I am confident that what is in place now is a very user-friendly system.
ESTIMATES COMMITTEE B
Monday 30 May 2005