Will more consultants get tourism out of the mire?


p2201-Lauren-MossBy ERWIN CHLANDA
The trend towards outsourcing government policy formulation, or at least the vital steps leading up to it, is progressing apace.
In the wake of the youth detention and fracking inquiries, costing tens of millions of dollars, Tourism Minister Lauren Moss (pictured) is now engaging accounting firms to advise her how to develop the “record $103m Turbocharging Tourism” initiative – not just one firm but apparently four.
Ms Moss, in a media release, says her Department of Tourism and Culture has appointed KPMG “to deliver the first long-term strategic plan for the business events sector in the NT”.
In another release she says: “Deloitte Access Economics has been awarded the contract to co-develop, with industry, the Tourism Industry Development Strategy.”
And further: “Local Territory firm Ambrose Indigenous Business Ltd in conjunction with national agency MI Associates, has been awarded the contract to develop the NT Aboriginal Tourism Strategic Plan with the final document due in early 2019.
“The Aboriginal Tourism Advisory Committee will be closely involved in the development of the strategy, as well as other Aboriginal people and businesses involved in tourism.”
Tourism Central Australia, the local industry lobby, which gets a significant part of its budget from the NT Government, can be expected to be a contributor to these diverse planning efforts.
All this is accompanied by the now well-known Gunner Government spiel: “Business events in the Territory deliver significant economic benefits and create local jobs – that’s why we are seriously targeting this area.
“This is the first ever long-term business events strategy for the NT and will guide the development of the NT business events sector through to 2030 and articulate a shared vision and framework for the sustainable economic growth of business events in the NT.”
How “shared” this vision will be, given the number of diverse players, remains to be seen.
The Government has Tourism NT which is now less transparent in the way that it is represented in the Budget: It has become part of  the Department of Tourism and Culture, together with Major Events,  Parks and Wildlife, Arts and Museums, Sport and Recreation and the Heritage Branch.
Previously it had a budget of around $40m – 12 times that of its Queensland counterpart on a per capita basis.
Despite this, the industry in the NT is well behind national trends.
“KPMG will undertake a comprehensive industry consultation process to inform realistic yet ambitious targets for the industry, define responsibilities and set priorities,” says Ms Moss. The report is expected to be delivered by October 2018.
“Tourism is a cornerstone of the Territory economy, supporting thousands of small and medium-sized businesses, 16,300 direct and indirect jobs, and generating around $2.3b for the Territory economy,” Ms Moss says.
“We are developing long-term tourism industry strategies that will strengthen and build on the work government has already undertaken across the sector.
“The development of the Tourism Industry Development Strategy 2020-2030 will involve significant and broad consultation, and Deloitte Access Economics, including its local Territory presence, will undertake this important work with the final draft strategic plan expected to be completed by December.
“This work ensures that tourism in the Territory is operating with a shared vision, shared priorities and with shared accountability.”
We emailed a government media person at 8.16am yesterday with the following questions. By the time of publication today we have had no response.
• How much does Deloittes get paid for this, was there an open tender for the job and please send me the terms of reference?
• What is the cost of this: The First Long-Term Business Events Strategy Developed for the NT (KPMG), was there an open tender for the job and please send me the terms of reference.
• How come there are TWO studies – Deloitte and KPMG?
• What is the 2018/19 budget for Tourism NT? It is no longer a stand-alone item in the Budget Papers.
• What is the annual subsidy for Tourism Central Australia?
UPDATE 10.55am
A reader alerted us to the following details on the government’s tender website:
Ambrose Indigenous Business Pty Limited, $416,720.
All Centres – Consultancy – Provision of Strategic Plan for Aboriginal Tourism within the Northern Territory.
KPMG, $146,772.
Darwin – Consultancy – Provision of Long-term Strategy for Business Events in the Northern Territory.
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, $206,349.
All Centres – Consultancy – Tourism Industry Development Strategic Plan 2030.
UPDATE 1.40pm
Minister Moss has provided the following answers to some of the questions, including – as mentioned above – that the consultants were “appointed through an open public tender process”. She confirmed the figures above fr Deloitte and KPMG and we had not asked her for the Ambrose Indigenous Business Pty Ltd figure but we are pleased to provide it.
The terms of reference were not provided by Ms Moss and neither was the question answered: “How come there are TWO studies – Deloitte and KPMG?”
Ms Moss says the 2018-19 budget for Department of Tourism and Culture is $262.35m (page 203 of the Budget Paper No 3) but this does not detail the expenditures for functions previously provided by Tourism NT, which are now included in the department.
Ms Moss says in 2018-19 the NT Government will provide $825,000 to Tourism Central Australia to support visitor information centres to deliver marketing and visitor information services.
“This is not a subsidy,” she says.


  1. Has anyone though to ask the tourists what they want or expect?
    Then meet the demands of the market.
    Yesterday I watched 15 vehicles disgorge their contents onto the Welcome Rock for photographs.
    Three years ago I watched 102 people in one hour do the same! Has anyone asked them what they want or what attracted them to come, or what their expectations were?
    “Australia All Over” did just that four years ago.
    Surely that has to be the starting point and not some interstate supposed experts with preconceived ideas as happened with Kilgarrif, and the outer metropolitan city concept of houses.
    Why is the visitors reception area not there at the rock on the entrance to town as it is at Katherine, Mt Isa and many other tourist centres?
    McLaren vale got it right. I tire of seeing caravans clogging up the CBD while their occupants try to visit the visitors centre, and we expect them to re invigorate that end of the mall by their presence.
    Any commercial entity which presumes to tell their clients what they want is doomed to failure. Please ask them what they want or expect, and look outside the square.

  2. Treat tourists how you like to be treated. Airfares to Alice Springs don’t compare with cheap Asian fares.

  3. Oh Trevor! I lament the stupidity and endless waste of money.
    Who thinks the curbing at the southern Visitor Rock looks good in photos or is even necessary?
    It’s like the Coober Pedy council undertaking curbing the streets in that iconic town. Makes you cry. Then the huge waste of money building that fencing and rail / road crossing through The Gap.
    You are so correct. We had the Visitor Centre in a lovely position near the taxi rank and the library. Incidentally near the oversize parking on the river. But you’re correct. Put it out at the Visitor Rock.
    The government now needs to manufacture visitor attractions. It seems it needs endless committees as well.
    Why bother when their recommendations get ignored anyway? Too many of the iconic old buildings have not been protected by the NT and local governments.
    Our town, that bloody courthouse that towers and reigns over us all could be a CBD just about anywhere.

  4. 825k for Tourism Central Australia. So that tops up the sub 8k that members chip in. Good to know.

  5. Trevor and Mark (3rd and 4th July).
    I share your views and the deplorable waste of money.
    Visitor centre and tourist information should really be located at the entrance of town not in the middle of a mall which is neither pedestrian nor open to traffic.
    The attraction of the old centralian town has been systematically demolished. KPMG or Deloitte are in no way aware of the taste and needs of visitors, mostly grey nomads not ready to go cycling or on long bush hikes at risk of heart attacks in +40o heat.
    The young ones do not have the money to spend in town, the self funded retirees expect good service when they spend top $ in hotels and restaurants.
    Lately we have seen how recommendations of consultancies reports are not taken into account in decision making.
    This town has so much to offer, however most overseas publicity still markets Uluru and its airfares above the local attractions.
    Above it all the greedy landlords of business premises in the CBD could keep their rental at affordable rate – and I think here of Centrecorp.
    Put all these factors together and we may be able to solve the current depressed economics of a Town like Alice.

  6. Of course, the best way to get tourists here is to stop the ones that have come before, talking about the violence, humbugging, theft, assault and the sad sight of people hanging around doing … nothing. Oh except fighting near the bottleshops, in the mall, in parklands. People come here to see Aboriginal culture, what they see is anything but.
    This is the image and experience that people are taking away with them, and from the papers. Darwin is the same.
    It does not need a consultant, it needs a government prepared to ignore the greenies and apologists, and actually fix the problem.
    It may have the added bonus of getting people to actually enjoy living here, not making plans on how and when to leave. The population of the Alice Springs local government area has dropped by almost 3500 people since 2007. That is a rather large exodus.
    What plans do the governments (all levels) have to bring industry, employment, and growth to the area?
    All we have seen recently is the folding of private enterprise and an increase in service and Aboriginal support agencies. We have the largest renal dialysis facility in the southern hemisphere, but that is not the sort of things to bring the tourists flooding back.
    Fix these problems, and you will also fix the downturn in tourism.
    Where is my consultancy fee?

  7. Sorry Local 1, you don’t qualify for a consultancy fee on two grounds:
    1. You’re a local and may see our town up close and holistically.
    2. You speak too much common sense. Cannot possibly be a bloated “consultant”.


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