Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP has met with travel industry experts in Castlemaine to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to demand the extension of JobKeeper.
“There’s no doubt that the travel industry has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chesters said.
“The recent spike in cases in Victoria is a clear indicator that we are still in uncertain times, with no end date to the pandemic.
“I’m calling on the Morrison Government to extend JobKeeper for the travel industry and save local jobs.
“Cancelling JobKeeper too early would have a devastating impact on local businesses and households,” Chesters said.
In the Bendigo electorate, up to 4233 local businesses may be forced to close their doors if JobKeeper ends early, which could mean approximately 16086 local workers would be forced into unemployment.
The Federal Government must detail 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.
It is unreasonable to expect the sector to simply “snap back” with the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic and it is unworkable to expect it to wait any longer for more information about what assistance might be provided.
Businesses need to know now what that support is going to look like so they can plan for the future.
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.
“Over the coming weeks I will meet with a number of other local businesses and industries to learn how they plan to stay afloat during the ongoing pandemic and into the recovery stage,” Chesters said.
Nicola Veltman, Executive Director of 1000 Mile Travel Group said travel industry was the first hit and will be the last out.
“We have largely been forgotten about and are in a stalling pattern not being able to forecast or plan for our business which is a theme across our industry,” Veltman said.
“Right now, even though we need JobKeeper to be extended, it is a band aid affect.
“If JobKeeper is extended and borders remain closed we will see an exodus from the industry as staff will consider alternative industries not impacted and we will lose highly valued skilled workers.
“What our industry and clients need is a timeline, with specific sensible air bridges with other countries that do not require quarantine.”