Aid For Struggling Aussie Tourism Sector Is ‘Days Away’ : Treasurer

March 8, 2021 Updated: March 8, 2021

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said the federal government will be announcing a new plan to support the tourism and travel industry in the coming days.

Frydenberg, who arrived in Cairns on March. 7 for a listening tour in the region, said the government was in the process of figuring out a plan to keep supporting the hardest-hit industry after the government JobKeeper package ends on March. 28.

“We’re still finalising those details, but it’s a matter of days,” said Frydenberg. “What I’ve heard from some businesses that I’ve met is that some are doing well and others are finding it a bit more challenging … so it’s about targeting that support but also providing opportunities for those who are doing OK to even take on more workers.”

The treasurer said that the economic recovery plan would encompass tax cuts, business incentives, the JobMaker hiring credit, new infrastructure spending and a record investment in skills and training. He also noted that the Morrison Government had already spent $251 billion on supporting businesses, with another $100 billion to be rolled out soon.

The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF)  has released a heat map analysis, which shows that over 34 percent of Australia’s tourism hotspots had suffered at least a 40 percent decrease in visitors during the past year.

“Almost every corner of Australia from Inner Melbourne to Broome and from South Australia to North Queensland is still reeling from the pain of this sharp and sustained visitor drop off,” chief executive of TTF, Margy Osmond, said.

Osmond also called the states and territories to keep borders open, as domestic tourism is filling some of the gaps felt by the sector.

Opposition Spokesperson Jim Chalmers has lambasted the federal government over the proposed end to Jobkeeper and called on his counterpart to take immediate actions.

“Josh Frydenberg is cutting JobKeeper for thousands of workers and small businesses in Cairns and far north Queensland, which is still struggling, and now he’s come here empty-handed when the region is crying out for help,” Chalmers said on March. 8.

“What I’ve heard loud and clear from workers and small businesses during my five visits to Cairns is that any support is welcome, but there’s no substitute for an extension of JobKeeper,” he said.