Doorstop interview with Brad Farmer, Tourism Australia's Beach Ambassador

  • Transcript, E&OE
21 December 2017

BRAD FARMER: It is my great honour to be here today in Perth, Western Australia, one of the great beaches in Australia and particularly here on the iconic Cottesloe Beach. It is again my great honour to introduce to you in a moment the Federal Member for Curtin, you'd know her better as the Foreign Minister of Australia, Julie Bishop whose local beach is right behind us.

We're announcing today Australia's best 101 beaches. It's become an annual list of beaches, the most authoritative and independent list of beaches in Australia. My name is Brad Farmer, I'm Tourism Australia's Beach Ambassador, it's a tough job, someone's got to do it, and it's my pleasure to handover to Miss Julie Bishop, the Member for Curtin and the Foreign Minister of Australia.

JULIE BISHOP: Thank you Brad. Good morning everybody and I'm delighted to be here at Cottesloe Beach to launch 101 Best Australian Beaches with Brad Farmer, our Australian Beach Ambassador and indeed an Australian beach expert.

Australia is a nation of stunning natural beauty and our coastline, our beaches are renowned. In fact, our "beach experiences and aquatic experiences" is a major driver of international tourism and the National Visitor Survey which was released yesterday showed that about 70 percent of international visitors actually undertake a beach or aquatic experience when they come to Australia. It's no wonder - we have such glorious beaches around our magnificent coastline.

I'm delighted to say that of the 101 Best Beaches, in the Top 20, four of them are in Western Australian including Cottesloe Beach, but I'll come to that in a moment.

I'm pleased to confirm that the number one beach, according to the Brad Farmer view of the world, is Nudey Beach in Queensland. I don't know whether it's a nudie beach but it's called Nudey Beach and I congratulate my colleagues from Queensland for having number one, but number two is Horrocks Beach, north of Geraldton, which is in the electorate of Melissa Price. Yesterday she was appointed the Assistant Minister for the Environment, so I think that's very fitting.

At number eight we have Quobba Beach, at number 12 Little Beach down south and at number 15 Cottesloe Beach. While Brad Farmer is our Beach Ambassador, Chris Hemsworth is our overall Tourism Ambassador – I just had to get that in – and through the promotion of Australia's beaches, through the promotion of the amazing aquatic experience you can have in Australia, we have seen international visitor numbers soar.

In fact the National Visitor Survey confirmed that there were 104 million visitors to Australia last year deriving about $105 billion in income. This makes tourism one of the fastest growing sectors of the Australian economy and delivering about 11 percent of exports to Australia.

I congratulate Brad on this magnificent initiative, it will be a very well-thumbed document and no doubt social media will make much of it. I'm delighted to be here at iconic Cottesloe Beach to launch 101 Australian Best Beaches. Thank you.

Any questions?

JOURNALIST: Minister what do you love the most about West Australian beaches?

JULIE BISHOP: The open natural beauty, the white sand, the rolling surf, and the fact that it's accessible and affordable. So many people can have a wonderful tourism experience. In fact more Australians are now holidaying at home than ever before and I'm sure that's the attraction of our beautiful coastline. I think Brad can add to this but many our beaches are quite unknown, untouched, unspoilt beauty that makes it very special.

JOURNALIST: What do you think the 100-odd local residents of Horrocks will have to say about their little slice of heaven splashed all over the country?

JULIE BISHOP: I hope they'll be delighted. I'm very proud of the fact that a Western Australian beach came in at number two…

BRAD FARMER: Number one mainland beach!

JULIE BISHOP: Yes, number one mainland beach, next year it can come in at number one.

JOURNALIST: What's your message to the locals?

JULIE BISHOP: That they are very fortunate to live in an area that has one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. I think that's a wonderful accolade for them and I'm sure their local Member Melissa Price will be very pleased to support them in preserving what is a magnificent beach.

JOURNALIST: What details can you provide about the Australian man who was murdered in Sweden?

JULIE BISHOP: At this stage there is an investigation underway so we won't be going into any specific details. Likewise the family are being informed but I can confirm that the Australian Government is providing consular assistance.

JOURNALIST: Do you know anything about him, the circumstances?

JULIE BISHOP: I'm not in a position to give any more details at this stage because the family is still being informed.

JOURNALIST: Australian allies the UK and Japan have supported a UN Security Council resolution calling on the US to withdrawn its decision to shift its Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem. What's Australia's position?

JULIE BISHOP: Australia is assessing the impact of this proposed resolution. It does not conflict in the main with Australia's position in terms of our support for a two-state solution and our support for the political status of Jerusalem being a matter for final status negotiations. However, we look at all of these proposed resolutions in the context of whether they will materially contribute to a lasting and negotiated peace so we'll make our assessment in that light.

JOURNALIST: The WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt says with so many West Australians MPs (inaudible) Cabinet, there's now no excuse for the Government not to fix WA's GST issue. Do you agree with that?

JULIE BISHOP: There's no excuse for Ben Wyatt not to take up with his State counterparts the issue of the distribution of the GST. What's Ben Wyatt been saying to Treasurers in other states about the distribution? The Australian Government has sought a Productivity Commission Report into it. We have received an interim report that's indicated that this does become a national economic issue and we'll certainly be studying very closely the final recommendations of the Productivity Commission. But the State Labor Government has a responsibility to work with other State Governments, particularly other State Labor Governments, to find a solution to this.

JOURNALIST: Just also, the WA Government has warned that remote Aboriginal communities could close if the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing ends next June. Is the Federal Government committed to renegotiate an agreement to ensure that that doesn't happen?

JULIE BISHOP: The Australian Government will ensure that indigenous communities receive appropriate funding. We won't be intimidated by hollow threats from the State Labor Government. The Australian Government has a strong record in supporting indigenous communities and will continue to do so.

JOURNALIST: The Snowy Hydro feasibility study has just been released with costs set to double. Do you think it's still economically viable?

JULIE BISHOP: The Prime Minister is very keen to proceed with Snowy 2.0 and I believe that it's part of a mix of reforms and initiatives that we need to drive our aim of affordable and reliable energy that meets our international obligations.

JOURNALIST: Minister, do you mind if we return to Jerusalem for a moment, what do you make of US threats to states that might oppose the US?

JULIE BISHOP: The United States is pointing out the obvious - that they are seeking support for their position, but each country will make their own determination and Australia will assess the proposed resolution against our requirement that it add materially to lasting and peaceful negotiations. So we'll assess it in that light, but each country can make their own decision and take into account what the United States has had to say about it.

JOURNALIST: Do you think there are any concerns for those who are dependent on international aid as to where their vote goes?

JULIE BISHOP: Each country will make an assessment of their foreign policy and I'm assuming each country will assess this resolution on its merits. That's what Australia seeks to do in all of the Israeli-Palestinian resolutions that are put up, and there are many of them. We assess each one in the context of whether it will materially contribute to a peaceful negotiation that leads to lasting peace.

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