Restrictions on travel and gatherings, while appropriate and necessary to stop the spread, have meant Australian tourism was one of the first sectors impacted by this pandemic and is likely to be one of the last to fully recover.
Recent statistics from Tourism Research Australia highlighted that before the pandemic struck a staggering 1,036,000 Australians were employed in businesses heavily reliant on tourism.
These businesses have said that JobKeeper was critical to ensuring that this industry did not completely collapse during the necessary restrictions.
But they have also been just as clear that some form of support must continue beyond the scheduled end of JobKeeper in September to prevent the industry falling off a cliff.
Unless the Morrison Government acts to provide certainty, more tourism businesses and workers will be left out and left behind and more Australians, particularly in our regions, will be forced to join the jobless queues.
The message from the sector has been consistent:
Business Events Council of Australia
Without an extension of the Government’s JobKeeper arrangement, the business events industry will face financial ruin. The total lost value for the business events industry over the next 12 months is estimated at $35.7 billion with staffing losses across the industry estimated at over 92,000 by the end of June 2020. Media Release 19/6/20
Tourism and Transport Forum
“If JobKeeper goes, we won’t have a platform to employ people on because businesses will simply disappear.” The Australian Financial Review 19/6/20
Australian Federation of Travel Agents
JobKeeper is a lifeline for Australia’s 3,000 travel businesses and 40,000 employees across every regional city and most regional towns. For 4 months and counting, all agents are holding on through a 90 – 100% revenue decline, with many jobs to disappear and businesses to shut down if the JobKeeper subsidy isn’t extended. Media Release 18/6/20
Australian Tourism Export Council
While JobKeeper is a critical part of the business survival package in supporting the retention of valuable staff, the commercial challenge of meeting the costs of fixed overheads over 12 months without revenue will be a bridge too far for many. Media Release 15/6/20
Australian Tourism Industry Council
“Given the slow, and in many parts of Australia still non-existent, recovery in tourism activity, JobKeeper for enterprises right across the tourism sector needs to be extended beyond September.” Sydney Morning Herald 9/6/20
Australian Hotels Association / Tourism Accommodation Australia
“If JobKeeper is not extended, many workers will be diverted from JobKeeper to JobSeeker as it will be impossible for employers to afford to retain them.” Sydney Morning Herald 7/6/20
Accommodation Association of Australia
If JobKeeper is not extended beyond September, an extra 23,000 Australians currently employed in the accommodation sector will lose their jobs. Media Release 3/6/20
Despite these repeated calls, the Government has yet to provide any certainty to the sector that they will continue to receive support following September.
It is unrealistic to expect such a large and important industry to simply “snapback” overnight, particularly when the government has flagged our international borders will not re-open this year.
Labor understands the challenge facing the sector and is committed to supporting owners, operators, peak bodies and the over one million people employed in tourism in Australia.
The Morrison Government should stop hinting at support and provide certainty about what they plan to do to ensure the tourism industry recovers and continues to make its significant and valuable contribution to Australians jobs and our economy.