New taskforce to help fast-track WA tourism products

Tourism WA has been called on to set up a new taskforce to fast-track key WA tourism projects.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia wants the new unit to work with private sector operators and speed up the approvals process to get their projects up and running.

The announcement follows a string of criticism that new tourist attractions proposed for Perth and elsewhere in the State were being bogged down indefinitely by red tape.

Speaking to PerthNow, WA tourism operator Mack McCormack went so far as to say that government departments or authorities that dealt with these matters “put up every barrier possible to stop you from doing anything”.

“Initially I thought these government bureaucrats were simply naïve,” he said. “But now I think they actually want you to go bust and go away. These nasty, nasty government people want to send you broke.

“They’re glorified real estate agents whose focus is selling land and units, not boosting tourism. Nothing gets through. They are just nasty pieces of work. They’re in charge of Perth’s central zone for tourism and yet they’re not interested in tourism at all.”

McCormack is the founder and director of Saferight, a local company that specialises in safety equipment for products including the Matagarup Bridge climb and Sydney’s Harbour Bridge climb.

He is also planning to lease the top of Brookfield Place to install either a zip line to Elizabeth Quay or a controlled jump off the side, like New Zealand’s Auckland Tower sky jump.

Papalia conceded that new tourism businesses can find it difficult “to navigate the relevant approval processes”.

“They are often the first proposal of their kind in the State and there is no precedent for what is required to get their business off the ground,” he said.

“This new case management approach will ensure projects don’t get bogged down in red tape and will help reduce bureaucratic delays.

“It’s not about getting rid of approval processes or cutting corners. It’s about ensuring proponents get an outcome in a reasonable timeframe.”