House debates

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Travel Industry

1:56 pm

Photo of Vince ConnellyVince Connelly (Stirling, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

When coronavirus hit, the Morrison government got straight on the front foot, declaring it a pandemic two weeks before the World Health Organization and closing our international border. That necessary action of shutting the international border to limit exposure to the virus has come with challenges and consequences for many families and businesses. I've been speaking with Melinda and Justin from Sports Travel Managers in my electorate of Stirling, and they tell me that confidence in the market is the No. 1 thing. 'We need that,' they say, 'even more than any direct moneys.'

In the absence of an international travel market for now, we need robust domestic travel arrangements, and Australians are starting to realise that they can now book travel whilst considering contingencies. So I welcome the coalition government's announcement of a $1.2 billion support package for the aviation and tourism industries. This includes assistance measures for some airlines, airports and their staff, as well as small businesses with the expansion and extension of the SME loan guarantee scheme. A key component of this package is our demand driven program for 800,000 half-price airfares to regions most impacted by the loss of international travel, including Broome in my home state of WA. It's the job of government to create the conditions in which its people can flourish, and that's exactly what the Morrison government is doing through not only this package but through our entire national economic recovery plan.