Details on what form of support the tourism sector can expect when JobKeeper ends in September must be provided without delay to ensure more jobs are not lost.
Reports today that tourism-reliant regions including Cairns, Port Douglas and the Whitsundays have lost between 10 and 17 per cent of full time jobs are alarming and highlight the desperate need for the government to provide the sector with certainty.
Modelling commissioned by the Australia Tourism Industry Council has shown that Queensland has been the worst hit by travel restrictions, losing more than 1000 jobs a week since late March.
Jobs continue to be lost because of the uncertainty caused by the delay in releasing the Treasury advice about JobKeeper.
While domestic travel is beginning to resume, regions like north Queensland which rely more heavily on international visitors will continue to suffer if certainty is not provided around ongoing support beyond the scheduled September end of JobKeeper.
It is unreasonable to expect the sector to simply “snap back” when international borders are not expected to open until 2021 and it is unworkable to expect it to wait any longer for more information about what assistance might be provided.
These are complex issues but the government has known for months that international travel was extremely unlikely to resume in 2020.
Businesses need to know now what that support is going to look like so they can plan for the future.
Tourism businesses in the hardest hit regions are in a daily struggle just to survive and deserve better than to have Scott Morrison holding them hostage to the Eden-Monaro by-election date. He should release the Treasury advice on JobKeeper and provide certainty to the sector now.
Every day that goes by without certainty puts over one million jobs in the tourism sector at risk and sees more Australians living our regions forced to join the jobless queues.