Tourism in Western Australia has been disrupted by politics in an unstable state economy. While eastern Australia gains from tourism expenditure, Western Australian tourism numbers are falling or remain static. The implications are felt most in regional sectors, while tourism stakeholders fight for research funding or tourist dollars. Recent Western Australian government reorganisation has led to little redress of ineffective tourism policy. Meanwhile, a lack of experience in state government administration, national government negotiations and the complete change in a mining industry-based economy have further disrupted the state’s tourism. In contrast, national tourism policies are successful for the eastern states and national government funding support has been judicious for the Labour-run Western Australia, once a strong Liberal Party seat. This paper argues that the politics of mining versus the new ‘mining’ of tourists has discombobulated Western Australia’s tourism policymaking; a political ploy of the former Turnbull government. Furthermore, eastern-centric national tourism policy making takes little consideration of the peripheral West; a state considered to be loath to ‘share’ the earnings of its metal and minerals mining industry with the rest (east) of the nation. Is Western Australia now paying the price?
Lesley is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Business and Law, School of Marketing, Tourism Research Center, where she is researching Australian, Japanese, Chinese and PICs tourism, fisheries, policies and politics. She has recently been invited to join the advisory board of the IGU Political Geography Committee its only Australian member. She is also collaborating with the Faculty of Science and Engineering and its working on a joint international project for disaster resilience in tourism and hospitality in the Philippines with the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute. Her book and chapters with Palgrave and Routledge are due this year.