Tourism workers are losing their jobs and businesses are closing while the Morrison Government crawls towards announcing some sort of support for the sector.
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.
The 28 March end date for JobKeeper, now just 24 days away, was set way back on 21 July 2020.
It was obvious even before then that the tourism and travel sector was one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and would be one of the slowest to recover.
Unbelievably, Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has today admitted any details on support for the sector beyond 28 March are still at least a couple of weeks away.
The Morrison Government’s lack of urgency on this issue is unacceptable. Businesses are making decisions now.
The industry has been pleading with the government for months to provide certainty and has clearly explained why support is needed beyond the end of March in order to save jobs and businesses.
“We are imploring the Government to make clear to the industry what support they can expect until international borders reopen. The risk in the Government not supporting these businesses to remain solvent until the international borders reopen would be a disaster for the Australian tourism industry.”
Australian Tourism Export Council, 10 November 2020
“JobKeeper remains an important business support policy while we remain faced with a hard international border close … Without this program, thousands of businesses, through no fault of their own due to government responses to the virus, will be impacted to the point of closure.”
Australian Tourism Industry Council, 4 January 2021
“It will decimate the industry if there’s no further support after 1 April. We estimate the collapse could be as high as 60 per cent.”
Australian Federation of Travel Agents, 3 February 2021
“If the government puts in place something like we’re suggesting, the industry could be back up to 75 per cent of its aggregated full-time positions by the end of the year. If it doesn’t, between April and December we will lose another 318,000 full-time jobs and then we won’t have a tourism industry by this time next year.”
Tourism and Transport Forum, 17 February 2021
Yesterday, the Morrison Government confirmed international borders will remain closed until at least mid-June.
Businesses are making decisions now based on known factors like this.
The Morrison Government is not on the side of tourism workers and businesses.
Every day it delays delivering certainty is another day of more jobs lost, more businesses closed and more long-term damage to Australia’s vital tourism industry.