Senate debates

Thursday, 3 December 2020


COVID-19: Tasmania

11:59 am

Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At the request of Senator Polley, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

  (i) that demand for Tasmania's primary exports, international education and tourism are expected to remain subdued for some time as a result of travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that, as a small and narrowly based economy Tasmania is heavily reliant on both domestic and international service demand to contribute to Gross State Product (GSP),

  (ii) that outside of JobKeeper payments there has been very little support for the Australian tourism industry, including in Tasmania, where data from Tourism Research Australia shows that this industry has already faced losses of $567 million from domestic travel and $133 million from international visitors in the year ending June alone,

  (iii) the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports, that Tasmania's unemployment rate is the highest in the country at 8.2%, and

  (iv) that a Deloitte Access Economics report has suggested that fiscal stimulus will be key to Tasmania's recovery for the projected future; and

(b) urges the Government to ensure that Tasmanians can re-train and re-skill in a post COVID-19 world, noting that we need to re-build TAFE, so that we can address skill shortages and encourage growth in advanced manufacturing, agriculture and renewable energy industries.

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries) Share this | | Hansard source

Tourism across Australia, and, indeed, Tasmania, was among the first and worst hit by COVID-19. The Morrison government did not hesitate in providing support for this critical industry, with an unprecedented package of broad economic and targeted industry support. In addition to JobKeeper, this includes small business grants and funding for airlines, zoos and aquariums, and national parks. Tasmania is also receiving $13½ million through the recovery of regional tourism package, an acknowledgement of the state's critical reliance on international tourism. With regard to skills, our JobMaker plan includes a billion dollar JobTrainer fund with skills and training crucial to Australia's economic recovery. The government will provide around $131.3 million to Tasmania over four years through the NASWD, supporting skills development. This funding is for Tasmania to run its training system including TAFEs.

Question agreed to.