Tony Abbott brings campaign to Cairns
TONY Abbott has used a trip to Cairns to announce a $90 million tourism policy, but failed to make any funding announcements specific to Cairns.
He would not match the ALP’s pledge of $40 million towards a performing arts centre, or commit to funding any of LNP candidate Warren Entsch’s sports infrastructure proposals.
“Obviously I will listen to Warren’s pleas,’’ Mr Abbott said this morning when asked if his Government would match the $40 million promise or fund any of Mr Entsch’s ideas.
He said a cultural precinct was “an important long-term ambition for Cairns”, and blamed the Labor Government’s “spending spree” for making it difficult to make multi-million-dollar funding announcements.
The $90 million tourism proposal includes $40 million over four years to a grants fund to help drive the development of tourism projects.
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The Federal Opposition leader began the day by chatting to tour operators on two reef vessels.
Tony Abbott felt “quite powerful” as he sat at the helm of a stationary reef tour boat in Cairns this morning - but quickly added he’d “better not get too ahead of myself”.
Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises director Jim Wallace told Mr Abbott of the region’s economic slump and unemployment woes, and said more funds for tourism promotion was needed.
A swinging voter who “usually leans toward the Liberals”, Mr Wallace told the media throng he was impressed with Mr Abbott.
“He seems like a really nice guy,” he said after showing him through two of his boats. “I do approve.”
Mr Abbott is expected to make a policy announcement later this morning.
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Moving forward? Opposition leader Tony Abbott and skipper Peter Kronbacher (at left) aboard a Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises vessel at Marlin Marina in Cairns today. Picture: Ray Strange
THE LNP's candidate for Cairns has bold ideas for the city's future - but Tony Abbott has promised only to listen to pleas to fund them.