Queensland Acting Premier, Steven Miles, says no Australian state will be able to sustain a viable tourism industry if plans by the Federal Government to end the JobKeeper subsidy continue as planned.
Miles was speaking to spruik the success of a major Queensland tourism marketing campaign across NSW and Victoria which has seen a massive spike in visitation, with 622,000 hits on the official state tourism website, Queensland.com. Airline schedules have nearly doubled in terms of capacity to 299,000 seats weekly by the end of February, with carriers offering significantly more seats into Cairns, the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach along with Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The Acting Premier said the campaign was working but that if JobKeeper ends as planned, the industry will struggle to survive.
“We’re investing in domestic tourism to support local businesses to make it through this pandemic,” Miles said.
“But we can’t do it on our own. That’s why today I’m urging the Prime Minister to extend JobKeeper beyond March.”
Queensland Tourism Minister, Stirling Hinchcliffe, welcomed news from Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, that the government was looking at targeted support packages for industries directly affected by the ongoing border closure.
“Tourism operators don’t want to sack staff and they’re not asking for a blank cheque, just a hand up until international visitors can come back,” Minister Hinchcliffe said.
“The Federal Government can save jobs in regional Queensland and anxiety for tourism operators by revealing their how their plans for targeted assistance might work and who would be eligible.”
Advocacy efforts continue from Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) and the Accommodation Association, with Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, saying efforts are continuing across all levels of government along with ongoing collaboration with the wider travel sector.
“The evidence of and need for an evolved JobKeeper for hotels, motels and accommodation is compelling,” Long said.
“We continue to talk to and work with key political and departmental influencers within the Federal Government (as well as at a State and Territory level). We will, of course, also be including the call for ongoing support in our pre-Budget submission which is currently being finalised.
“Rest assured, the fight is far from over! It’s unlikely to be called JobKeeper but we remain confident that Government will hear our pleas.”
Speaking at the first TAA NSW Board meeting of 2021, TAA NSW CEO, Michael Johnson, said many hotels will need ongoing government support.
“TAA is in talks with the government to develop ongoing bespoke wage support for tourism, hotels and hospitality businesses that have taken and continue to take, the brunt of the damage of this pandemic due to no fault of their own,” he said.
“We are also recommending the suspension of FBT on meals and accommodation for staff for three years to provide a much-needed revenue stimulus.”
Johnson’s comments were outlined further at the Association’s 2021 Chairman’s Drinks, where members and guests had the opportunity to meet with recently-elected TAA NSW Chair, Richard Doyle.