The Morrison Government has abandoned hundreds of thousands of Australian tourism workers, delivering re-announcements instead of assistance in the Federal Budget.
Already more than 136,000 tourism jobs have been lost while the sector was forced to wait for the government’s pre-Budget headline schedule.
Those are real people, out of work and struggling because the government left too many behind through its poorly designed JobKeeper criteria.
Tourism employed more than a million Australians, supported around 300,000 local businesses and was growing, before the combined impacts of bushfires and the global COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Morrison Government’s inaction has put it in reverse.
Promised bushfire recovery funding has been delivered at a snail’s pace.
JobKeeper criteria disproportionately excluded the tourism sector because of the casual and mobile nature of much of its workforce, and for those who were lucky enough to get JobKeeper, the cuts to this support come at a time when the industry is hurting more than ever.
Billions of dollars in revenue have been lost, most international borders are unlikely to re-open any time soon and tourism infrastructure funding, while long overdue, won’t deliver new, additional tourism jobs until projects are complete.
There is no “snap back” in sight for tourism.
The impending impact on the sector was obvious months ago.
But despite peak bodies and operators across the country crying out for more targeted support, the Morrison Government’s response has been typically designed around headlines and photo ops.
How many hundreds of thousands more jobs will be lost before the Morrison Government delivers a clear, consistent plan to drive demand, encourage visitation and support this vital industry through the worst, so it can play a major role in Australia’s economic recovery when things improve.