Federal support available for indigenous tourism businesses on the Sunshine Coast

Business support and grants are available now for indigenous tourism businesses on the Sunshine Coast under the Morrison Government’s $40 million Indigenous Tourism Fund.

Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace said that this fund is available to support Indigenous tourism operators, including on the Sunshine Coast, so that they can continue offering unique experiences and provide employment and business opportunities in their communities.

“We have a rich Indigenous heritage on the Coast, exemplified by the wonderful stories and history which surrounds our Glass House Mountains. We already have some fantastic local indigenous tourism businesses like Saltwater Eco Tours in Mooloolaba and I believe that there is a big opportunity for our local Indigenous community to help more tourists to understand their heritage and their culture, create more jobs for local Indigenous people, and in the process to draw more visitors to our region. A grant under this program would be a terrific outcome for our whole community.” Mr Wallace said.

Grants from $1,000 up to $50,000 are available for Indigenous-owned tourism businesses and up to $100,000 will be available for Indigenous-owned community organisations.

“Even as we grow and diversify our local economy, the fact is that tourism is and will always be one of the largest and most important employers on the Sunshine Coast and as we seek to build out recovery from COVID-19, we should do all we can to support and grow the industry in our region. I want to make sure that our Indigenous community have the opportunity to be part of that.” Mr Wallace said.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said Indigenous tourism businesses have been hard hit by the combined impact of bushfires and COVID-19.

“The tourism sector was one of the first to be impacted by COVID-19 and will be one of the last to recover,” Minister Wyatt said.

“This fund delivers on our election commitment and has been designed in consultation with the Indigenous tourism sector who have told us clearly what they need to recover and grow their businesses.”

$10 million from this fund will go towards a National Indigenous Tourism Mentoring Program to offer businesses individualised support.

Up to $12 million will be available under the Tourism Grants for Indigenous Business Program to help businesses and community organisations develop new products, and purchase systems and equipment. Applications for the grant are open now and close on 22 March 2021.

Up to $17 million will be available for States and Territories to co-invest with the Commonwealth on significant Indigenous tourism projects. This is a real opportunity to expand the range of Indigenous tourism experiences available across Australia.

To ensure the fund is Indigenous led, $1 million will be provided for the establishment of a National Indigenous Tourism Advisory Group consisting of successful Indigenous experts from a variety of fields to advise on priorities for the sector and the implementation of the fund.

The National Indigenous Tourism Advisory Group will be chaired by Professor Deen Sanders OAM with Ms Helen Martin as Deputy Chair.

For more information on the Indigenous Tourism Fund, visit www.niaa.gov.au/ITF