We would like to commence this week’s column by acknowledging the tremendous and collaborative efforts of AFTA members over the last few months. Everyone, in a uniform and constructive way, has demonstrated great commitment, passion and shared responsibility as we flight for the survival of our sector.
In recent weeks we have seen Parliamentarians (Federal and State), Government agencies, travel trade and mainstream media champion the cause in partnership with the travel sector in a never before seen effort of collaboration.
Negotiations between AFTA and the Federal Government around sector specific support continue and we are in very detailed, data-driven discussions, which is part of standard government process (irrespective of what sector it is earmarked for) when evaluating such a substantial request for funding.
AFTA CEO, Darren Rudd, has been in Canberra several times since the Federal Budget was announced and AFTA assures you that dialogue with representatives of the Finance and Tourism Ministers, the Treasurer, as well as the Prime Minister’s Office are still very much alive.
So, to every single one of you who has participated in a meeting with your local federal MP, the fact that we have got this far is largely a result of your efforts – thank you. These meetings, will be an ongoing vehicle, that will be used for separate policy initiates as we rebuild this sector to its former health, wealth and prosperity.
Your personal stories, energy and passion are the reasons that the Federal Government is aware that travel agents were one of the first business to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic and will be the last to recover. It is also the reason they understand comprehensively how you have gone over and above, working tirelessly with Australian customers, to refund $6 billion back to the Australian economy to date, with $4 billion more to go.
On Monday of this week, Darren had the pleasure of briefing the Deputy Prime Minister along with Pat Conaghan MP, Federal Member for Cowper and great advocate of travel agents. He was completely engaged and across the detail, thanks to the hard work of Mr Conaghan MP and other Parliamentarians.
Following that and other meetings, the Federal National Parliamentary Party announced its unified support for a travel industry support package to their senior coalition partner (the federal parliamentary Liberal Party). Please read it here.
Additionally, to everyone who participated in in the recent strategic partnership with News Corp – thank you. The efforts resulted in more than 120 local newspaper mastheads talking about the plight of travel agents, tour operators and wholesalers. If you’d like to review the 141 page report on media coverage you can do so here.
The AFTA Team remain committed to driving as hard as possible for a positive outcome with respect to this rescue package. Stay tuned.