Jobs of hundreds of thousands of Australians working in tourism remain at risk because the Morrison Government has failed to listen to the industry.
According to the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), as many as 300,000 or more tourism jobs could still be lost despite the package announced by Scott Morrison today, after the industry already lost 506,000 full-time jobs in 2020 due to COVID-19.
That is more than 800,000 Australians potentially unemployed because the Morrison Government says its listening but doesn’t hear a word the tourism industry says.
The PM’s thumbs up photo opp from the cockpit of a Qantas jet won’t save jobs.
Failing to provide a tourism-targeted wage subsidy after ripping away JobKeeper won’t save jobs.
Encouraging tourism operators to take on more debt won’t save jobs.
Tourism operators outside of the Morrison Government’s 13 chosen discount fare destinations will still struggle just to survive and will still be forced to lay off staff.
The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) last week said the industry didn’t want “more grant programs or pork-barrelling in a few regions” and today said it was deeply disappointed in the Government’s package, which it said will “fail to stem major job losses and closures”.
TTF today said the fact that the package contained “no wider support beyond more loans and debt, was not what industry needed”.
Programs which drive demand, like the aviation support announced today, are a first step in encouraging Australians to travel.
However, businesses on the ground say they need both direct support to stay open and keep staff and their own, targeted demand-driving measures, such as the voucher schemes introduced by every state and territory.
Programs the Government is extending, like the Zoos and Aquariums Program, were so badly targeted in the first place that they’ve had huge underspends.
The Consumer Travel Support Program was so badly designed by the Morrison Government that the Australian Federation of Travel Agents said it had “multiple flaws”, covered as little as two weeks’ worth of business costs and that, despite it, many agents would not survive.
Support for the tourism industry should ensure jobs are saved and businesses survive to offer the same high-quality experiences when international visitors return that they did before the pandemic.
The industry has made it clear that it does not believe the Morrison Government’s package will do that.