Statutory authorities in whose interests? The case of Tourism New South Wales, the Bed Tax, and "The Games"
Jenkins, JM 2001, 'Statutory authorities in whose interests? The case of Tourism New South Wales, the Bed Tax, and "The Games"', Pacific Tourism Review, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 201-219.
Statutory corporations have been and are familiar and significant features of Australia's physical, political, economic, and social development. Focusing on tourism statutory corporations, namely Tourism New South Wales, this article has two aims. First, it contributes to knowledge of business-government relations in tourism in Australia. Secondly, and as an extension of the first aim, this article explores two key dimensions of economic power: interlocking directors, and the relationship of big business to the governmental process, of economic to political power. Case studies of Tourism New South Wales and of the brokering of the Sydney "bed tax" deal are presented. In these overlapping case studies, the relationships between big business, tourism industry associations, and government corporations and representatives are explored. The case studies reveal that Tourism New South Wales and other statutory corporations are very important conduits for business interests to influence government. The extent and nature of such influence are major concerns because the "public interest" is at stake. The Boards of Directors of statutory corporations, such as Tourism New South Wales, their responsible ministers, and a host of associated interests, including pressure groups and former politicians and political party members, form a very complex web of actors and agencies. The divide between public and private agencies is very muddy, and conflicts of interest abound.