SOUTH Australia’s Tourism, Trade and Investment Minister David Ridgway has been relieved of his tourism portfolio, with the state’s Premier Steven Marshall taking on the job directly for the foreseeable future.
The decision was precipitated by massive devastation caused by bushfires to major tourist attractions in the state, including the Adelaide Hills wine region and Kangaroo Island.
Marshall told the media over the weekend that he would take control of the state’s $7.6 billion tourism industry to ensure South Australia recovers in the wake of being “hit for six” by the fires.
“Ever since 20 Dec, our fortunes have changed in South Australia and it hasn’t been good – I think we’ve been kicked in the guts in terms of what Mother Nature has thrown at us,” he said.
Marshall said the decision also made sense because Ridgway was forced to spend a lot of time overseas because of his Trade portfolio, however Shadow SA Treasurer Stephen Mullighan claimed the decision was attributable to Ridgway overseeing a string of tourism blemishes, including the polarising Old Mate campaign and a drop in international visitation.
meanwhile Tourism & Transport Forum’s Chief Executive Officer Margy Osmond welcomed the move, hailing the “proactive” approach to the economic recovery efforts needed in SA.
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