NSW tourism providers have omitted the map | The Lawyer – Hepburn
NSW tourism companies have joined the chorus of critics of the federal government’s multi-billion dollar aid package, saying it will not stop major job losses and business closures.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that his government will inject $1.2 billion into the ailing tourism industry.
The package offers 800,000 half-price plane tickets between April and July, as well as loans for struggling tourism businesses when JobKeeper expires at the end of March.
However, the NSW Tourism Industry Council says the package does not go far enough, pointing out that Merimbula is the only destination in the state nominated to receive the discounted tickets.
Council chief executive Greg Binskin told AAP that “many destinations have been removed from the map”.
“There are many areas in NSW that need support. We appreciate Merimbula receiving support after the bushfires and Victorian border closures, but it hasn’t gone far enough,” he said.
He urged the Government to increase the number of priority destinations across NSW to be offered discounted tickets.
“There are no flights (discounts) associated with Albury, and yet the Murray River area was badly affected by the Victorian border closures,” Binskin said.
In Queensland, the government has listed the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Cairns and the Whitsundays and Mackay regions including Proserpine and Hamilton Island.
Lasseter and Alice Springs in the NT, the Tasmanian towns of Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, Broome in WA, Avalon near Melbourne and Kangaroo Island in SA are also included.
In a press conference in Sydney on Thursday, the Prime Minister defended the scheme, saying NSW had not been left out.
Mr Morrison said the first nominated destinations are just a start and more opportunities will emerge as the travel industry responds.
“We are particularly focusing here on the areas that are heavily dependent on international tourists and on aircraft that support that tourism,” he said.
The NSW Tourism Industry Council said Sydney missed out on the federal government’s package entirely.
“Sydney is a major hub, it’s a big, world-class city…we really need to see international borders reopen and flights from international (destinations) coming into Sydney,” Mr Binskin said.
“No boat has left Circular Quay for over 12 months, we really need to start planning now.”
“It’s just not a flick of the switch and it will change.”
Mr. Binskin also criticized the loans on offer.
“Forcing companies to go further into debt with no certainty of future revenue is a major challenge for many small business owners who have suffered from drought, bushfires, floods, border closures and pandemic lockdowns,” he said.
Australian Associated Press