Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP is calling for additional support for the travel industry in next week’s Federal Budget.
“Since March I have spoken to many travel agents in the Bendigo electorate who have been severely impacted due to the covid-19 pandemic,” Chesters said.
“Through no fault of their own, travel agents were the first to be hit by covid-19 restrictions and the sector will be the last to recover
“This is especially acute in Victoria where current state-based restrictions and border closures continue to significantly limit travel.
“Many travel agents have been able to access JobKeeper but given the sector will continue to be impacted by the pandemic for the foreseeable future, the reduction of this payment on 28 September was another blow for these sole traders and businesses.
“The Government imposed the crippling restrictions on this industry so there is a moral responsibility to support them through it.”
John Fitzpatrick from Bendigo italktravel and Cruise says they’ve lost 95 per cent of income because of border closures.
“When international borders closed in March we lost 90 percent and then when state borders closed, the rest went with it,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“Effectively we are earning nothing, in some areas we are in negative and it doesn’t look like state borders will open for months.
“JobKeeper payments have kept us afloat, they’ve meant I can pay my four staff members and continue to assist my clients with refunds and travel credits, but I am concerned about what will happen when JobKeeper ends.
“Our industry needs to be looked at individually because we are unlikely to be making any income for months and we will be critical to helping restart the economy when travel begins again”.