Wednesday, July 06, 2016

The craziness of NSW's latest regional tourism structures

I despair sometimes. Over the last six years on this blog I have written many posts on failures in NSW tourism promotion, at least so far as Northern NSW is concerned. Just to summarise my previous complaints:
  • the subdivision of tourism branding into Sydney and NSW doesn't work because NSW is too disparate to have an identifiable tourism brand and in any case hasn't been given the money to promote it
  • the constantly fluctuating boundaries of NSW regional tourism bodies, the constant chops and changes in names, structures and branding strategies, has made it impossible to develop coherent sustained local or regional tourism brands and strategies. 
  • The Sydney centric focus of branding conceals a fundamental conflict between the desire to maintain Sydney as hub and the needs of other areas that are, in fact, in competition with Sydney. 
  • At least so far as Northern NSW, the broader New England,is concerned,  the various strategies and chops and changes have totally destroyed any chance of creating a strong brand to rival Sydney and have fragmented cooperative marketing and product development.
The latest Sydney Government changes just continue this process. Since I am being so rude, here is the link to the explanatory statement. Please read it and tell me that I am wrong. I would be very happy to debate the issues involved.

The following map sets out the latest boundaries. Comments follow the map.

Now when you look at the map, you will find that New England is subdivided into three areas:
  • Destination Sydney Surrounds North (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and the Hunter)
  • Destination North Coast (from the Mid-Coast to Tweed Heads including Lord Howe Island)
  • Destination Country and Outback NSW with everything inland from Riverina Murray as defined to the border including all of inland New England. 
While Destination North Coast at least has the advantage of an historical geographic unity, the same cannot be said for the other areas. After years of struggling to maintain a distinct identity, Newcastle and the Hunter are now classified just as Destination Sydney Surrounds North. Can you imagine the board meetings where the Hunter tells the Blue Mountains to go away because we want to attract traffic from you?

Destination Country and Outback NSW is, if anything, worse. Can you imagine just three staff even with extra board members making sensible decisions across a such a broad area lacking any community of interest? Or any sensible decisions at all? And how on earth are the New England Tablelands and Western Slopes and Plains, areas that are different in their own right but have been jammed together by previous NSW Government decisions, going to form common views in competition with the Cnetral West or Dubbo? It beggars belief. 

And how are we going to get cooperative action that will promote Northern NSW as a whole? Well, I guess that we don't exist.

As I said, I have given you the links so that you can correct me.  So far as I am concerned. this strikes me as crazy stuff. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Election sees status quo in the broader New England

It's becoming easier and easier to follow New England election results with the progressive decline in the number of our seats, state and federal. It's hard to believe, but New England now has fewer Federal seats than South Australia.

In 1967, our population was larger than Western Austraia's, well in front of South Australia. Now South Australia has eleven Federal seats, while New England has nine with part falling in the seat of Parkes.

With seats down one from the previous Federal election, the results this time were broadly status quo:

  • Labor 5 (Hunter, Paterson, Richmond, Shortland, Newcastle)
  • National 4 (Cowper, Lyne, New England, Page) plus part of the National held seat of Parkes. 
I will do a full report once we have the final figures.