TTF Media Release
Tuesday 11 May 2021
FEDERAL BUDGET LEAVES STRUGGLING TOURISM SECTOR HIGH AND DRY
The nation’s peak body for the tourism, transport and aviation sectors said tonight’s Federal Budget was a missed opportunity to provide any real certainty around the reopening of the international border or even safeguard the sector while the border remains closed.
Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) CEO Margy Osmond said that in the absence of any significant new support or a timetable towards reopening, the industry would continue to press for the introduction of additional sector-wide support measures including an $854 million ‘Employee Emergency Support Scheme’ to enable the sector to survive.
“Our industry is crying out for one thing above all else from our governments, and that one thing is certainty. A gradual recovery for international tourism assumed to occur after mid-2022 as outlined in the budget papers, is not a decisive timetable for reopening,” Margy Osmond said.
“Our tourism industry, the major ongoing economic casualty from COVID with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost so far, has missed out on any major new funding which, put simply, is a recipe for further job losses for our sector.
“As we have outlined for well over a year, tourism was the first to be hit by the double whammy of last year’s bushfires and then the ongoing economic impacts of COVID and we will be the last to recover as long as international borders, with the exception of outside New Zealand, remain shut.
“We are at risk of becoming one of the only major countries in the world without a comprehensive and well understood timeframe and clear targets for re-opening. This is simply not good enough if we are to rebuild Australia’s reputation as a desirable destination in what will be highly competitive global market for international visitation once circumstances allow.”
TTF CEO Margy Osmond said the industry has still been losing almost $4 billion per month from the lack of international tourism spend resulting in sustained job losses and any uptick in domestic tourism will not be sufficient to fill this black hole, particularly as uncertainty around domestic borders continues to erode confidence.
However, TTF welcomed support measures which the industry had long been pushing for like the easing of student visa restrictions to help address skill shortages in tourism and hospitality, a six-month extension to the existing Zoos and Aquariums package and runway upgrades at key regional airports. TTF also welcomed ongoing funding for Tourism Australia.
“It was also good to see public transport projects such as $237.5 million for further stages of METRONET rail in WA, $126.6 million for Gold Coast Light Rail – Stage 3, $132.5 million for Stage 2A extension of Canberra Light Rail and a range of major road upgrades including $2 billion in the NSW Blue Mountains and $64 million for the Strzelecki Track Upgrade sealing in SA among the additional $15 billion in the infrastructure package.”
“Following tonight’s Budget, TTF will continue to engage closely with the Commonwealth Government in the coming days and weeks on behalf of the industry.”
Contact: TTF Manager Policy, Media and Government Relations Lindsay Hermes firstname.lastname@example.org 0418 948 447