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Operators should look to East
Finance Minister Penny Wong sees the lighter side of her discussion with business owners in Mandurah.

Mandurah tourism operators must take advantage of the growing numbers of Asian tourists to Australia, according to Federal Finance Minister Penny Wong.

Ms Wong’s comments came as she visited Mandurah on Thursday afternoon to hold a forum with local business owners.

She took questions about economic conditions locally, nationally and globally as well as the concerns felt by local business owners.

Ms Wong said the seat of Brand was in a strong position economically due to its high rate of exports but also acknowledged the high Australia dollar and the global downturn were having an impact on business.

She said tourism was something which should be utilised to make the most of the shift away from Western markets toward Eastern markets.

“An example of the opportunity of the Asian century is tourism,” she said. “Last year there were 64 million outgoing Chinese tourists and Australia got about 500,000 of them.

“If you think about those numbers and get even a fraction of that, it’s a big market to break into.”

Ms Wong also addressed concerns about productivity locally and said building collaboration between management and employees was a more effective way of increasing productivity than legislation.

“We don’t have the luxury of high prices combating the high price of manufacturing currently,” she said. “You have to find a way to build systems and culture within an organisation and that’s not something the Government can impose.

“There needs to be a shared interest between employee and employer to become more productive.”