The Morrison Government is asking cash-strapped families to spend their money on saving Australia’s tourism industry when it isn’t prepared to do the same thing itself.
Tourism Minister Dan Tehan today repeated calls for Australians to do their “patriotic duty” but has failed in his duty to an industry that is a vital sector of our economy.
Tourism workers are losing their jobs and businesses closing, while Scott Morrison schedules support based on when he needs an announcement, not when the industry needs help.
The industry says 470,000 tourism jobs had already been lost to September 2020. Modelling suggests as many as 300,000 more could go when JobKeeper ends, and potentially many more jobs relying indirectly on tourism.
With only 18 days until JobKeeper ends, businesses are making decisions about their future now. While an announcement might be on the horizon, support is long overdue and will be too late for many.
For a year, the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian tourism has been obvious, along with the fact that ongoing international travel restrictions will mean it is among the sectors slowest to recover.
The industry has pleaded with government to provide a clear plan with details of what support will be available beyond the end of JobKeeper on 28 March.
Without clarity around what support is available, many businesses have already been forced to begin the process of making remaining staff redundant.
But rather than be upfront with the industry, the Morrison Government has dragged its feet, saying it needs more data, cruelly keeping people waiting on a lifeline that is hinted at but never delivered.
The government has known for months that the end of JobKeeper meant a dire future for tourism, so it beggars belief that after all this time and so many media opportunities they still haven’t announced what will replace it.
With just 18 days to go, businesses are making decisions and workers are worrying about their jobs now and have been for many months.
They should not be forced to wait until their urgent plight makes it into Scott Morrison’s announcement schedule.