House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Questions without Notice

Economy: Regional Tourism

2:18 pm

Photo of Helen HainesHelen Haines (Indi, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Treasurer. Yesterday's national accounts are seismic. This is the deepest economic downturn since 1945. In the first half of 2020, Indi lost 1.6 million local tourism visitors. That's 95 per cent of business as usual. Visitor expenditure fell by around $640 million, and over 6,000 jobs were disrupted or lost. Other than JobKeeper, what is the Treasurer doing to strengthen and invest in regional tourism infrastructure, accommodation and hospitality?

2:19 pm

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Indi for her question and acknowledge that, across her electorate and indeed across Australia, it is a really difficult time for regional tourism businesses, with the fact that they've been hit by drought, fire, flood and now a global pandemic. I know in the member's electorate there are some terrific ski fields. Those businesses have lost a full ski season as a result of the COVID pandemic, and many jobs have been lost in the honourable member's electorate. The member mentioned JobKeeper, and there are 4,700 businesses in her electorate who are receiving it. In addition to JobKeeper, there is the cash flow boost and other support for apprentices. That is supporting small businesses right across the electorate.

We've heard from Margy Osmond, the CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum, that the government has heard the voice of the tourism industry loud and clear. But, as the honourable member knows, we've also put in place a $1 billion COVID relief and recovery fund, which is supporting regional communities and industries, particularly those in the tourism sector. There has been regional airlines funding assistance of $100 million, which has been underwriting air service providers to ensure connectivity for regional and remote committees. There has been regional air network assistance of $198 million. There has been crisis relief of $10 million for regional arts. There has been support for Indigenous visual arts centres. There has been a temporary waiver of the environmental management charge for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. There has been support for national parks. There has been support for tourism, with $12 million worth of fee waivers. There has been support for agricultural shows, with a commitment of $36 million. There have been a host of measures that the Morrison-McCormack government has undertaken to support regional tourism.