The Prime Minister’s ruled out making the call on further support for the tourism industry, while visiting drought affected Western Queensland.
It comes after the Secretary of the Federal Health Department Brendan Murphy pretty much ruled out the return of international travel for the whole of 2021.
It’s left an already struggling tourism industry calling out for more assistance in terms of Job Keeper payments, which are due to finish at the end of March.
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The CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum Margy Osmond is calling for the federal government to put ongoing support measures in place now.
“We need border certainty domestically, we need international borders open when appropriate, but we are going to need ongoing federal government support for the industry if we’re going to have one (an industry) in 18 months time,” Ms Osmond said.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out making any ‘big promises’ for funding just yet.
“We’ve demonstrated, I think, over the course of the pandemic our commitment, whether it’s to the tourism industry, small business owners, the hospitality sector, the arts sector, the manufacturing sector – businesses right across the country – we have demonstrated that we’re serious about ensuring that all of Australia gets through this in the best possible way.
“And so our record speaks for itself. Where we need to make targeted investments, proportionate, commensurate with the challenge, well, we have done that.
“That’s been our way of doing things. And so we’ll assess those things as we go forward, as we have up until this time.
“We don’t make big promises. We just get it done,” the Prime Minister said.
Scott Morrison also flagged that we should look more to domestic tourism to try and save the industry, which is losing about $4 billion a month without international travel.
“Domestic tourism industry accounts for about 70 to 80% of the overall tourism industry of Australia, thereabouts.
“It varies by region, of course. Some areas of the country are more dependent on international tourism than others.
“But the bread and butter of the tourism industry in Australia has always been the domestic tourism sector.
“In this unusual time, Australians who are big overseas travellers are increasingly in a position – and will want to more and more – see their own country.
“So, that’s going to have its obvious impact,” the Prime Minister said.
TTF CEO Margy Osmond says we can’t just keep expecting businesses to hold on, especially with the constant changing of border rules.
“It is absolutely true for anybody who’s close to a border as a tour operator – they have been devastated so many times in the last 12 months.
They just keep rolling with the punches, but that has to have a deadline, they can’t keep holding on,” Ms Osmond said.