On Thursday, the Federal Government revealed the biggest budget deficit since World War II, announcing a shortfall of $85.8 billion in 2019-20 and $184.5 billion in 2020-21. What stands, therefore, behind the Government’s decision to keep adding to this deficit? The driving force, without a doubt, is the many voices singing the same tune - both across sectors and across the economy.
If it was not for the collective industry associations and stakeholder groups working together to lobby for an extension the stark reality is that there may not have been one at all. AFTA has played an important role in this process. We are not the only voice, but we have been an active and assertive voice, providing economic modelling and serving-up real stories that portray the very real challenges faced by travel agents across the country.
Treasury’s review of JobKeeper Payment phase 1 found that the JobKeeper Payment met its initial objectives: to support business and job survival, preserve employment relationships, and provide needed income support.
However, the review also identified that there was a continued need for macroeconomic support and that an appropriately targeted extension of JobKeeper would continue to assist the most affected businesses and support recovery.
This report (see below) found that at the sectoral level…” some sectors, such as [travel and] tourism and arts and recreation, will remain distressed throughout the remainder of this year and beyond, largely due to the health restrictions that will remain in place, including border controls”. [Also refer to pages 29 and 33 where travel agents are quoted].
The Government considered the findings of the JobKeeper Review and on 21 July, the Government announced JobKeeper 2.0 to support those organisations who continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.
AFTA has been working hard through a bi-partisan approach to maintaining a collaborative and constructive dialogue with all levels of government. It has been a multi-layered and multi-dimensional approach which extended across many months.
AFTA’s focus remains on ensuring that dialogue with government remains open. For as long as the door remains open the interests of travel agents can be heard.
With the extension of JobKeeper our current dialogue now remains focused on the imperative for interstate and international travel for the survival of our sector because travel agents are at the very heart of the travel and tourism ecosystem.
AFTA will continue to work in the best interest of members and communicate our planned strategic approach to ensure members remain informed, connected and supported.