Thursday, 18 March 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Lisa is a travel agent in my electorate, who, in 2019, fulfilled her dream of owning her own business. She says she will have to let her five staff go when JobKeeper ends, and she's excluded from the airfare subsidy scheme. Why is the Prime Minister ripping away JobKeeper while it's still needed by hardworking small-business owners like Lisa?
I'll ask the minister for tourism to respond further to my answer. Our response to the travel agent sector has been in the order of over a quarter of a billion dollars in additional support—over and above what has been provided through JobKeeper, which goes until the end of this month.
In addition to that, one of the key things we've been working on with the tourism and travel sector is to ensure that the discounted flights that have been made available in the new travel package will be combined with other product packages, packaged up together, and distributed and sold through the travel agent network. When tourists are travelling and we can get them to travel agents, then travel agents, of course, benefit.
There is also a significant further round of support being provided to travel agents, and I'll ask the minister to add further to the answer.
Last week we announced a further $130 million to support travel agents right across this country. I'm happy to inform the House that, tomorrow, Austrade will be engaging with the travel agent sector on the final designs of that additional $130 million package. We want to make sure that we're providing the support that travel agents need in this country. So far, we've announced support of more than $260 million for travel agents, and I thank the travel agent sector for the good faith in the way that they have liaised and negotiated with the government. I look forward to Austrade's meeting with travel agents tomorrow as we look at the final design of this package, because we want to make sure that we can carry as many travel agents through this pandemic as we possibly can.
As the Prime Minister has said, also, one of the key designs of our discounted flights is that we want to encourage Australians to book them through their travel agents. There are 46,000 discounted flights that are going to be available every single week. I say to all Australians: do your patriotic duty and get out there and book your discounted flights through your travel agents. That way, you can help support them and you'll help support the travel industry across the board. And the money you save on your discounted flights—make sure you spend that in the pubs, the clubs and the restaurants— (Time expired)