Ferguson stands ground in visa row

Ferguson stands ground in visa row
By admin

Minister for tourism, Martin Ferguson, has insisted progress is being made on the reform of the working holiday visa program but stressed it cannot be done overnight.

Speaking to Travel Today in Cairns, Ferguson addressed recent calls from industry bodies for the upper age bracket to be raised, if not removed.

"The outstanding debate is whether or not we'll extend it to two years, but that's still a work in progress," he said. "They haven't lobbied all that much on the upper age bracket to be fair."

Ferguson stressed that the government is in discussions with a number of new countries "which will increase our numbers". But he stressed that numbers are already up on the back of Australia's strong economy, with Ireland a particular success story.

"One way or another we're getting the numbers," he said. "I know people like change overnight but we've also had a bit of a downturn in the economy on the east coast – Queensland is an example of it. We've got to carefully balance out what can be done at a particular time."

Ferguson instead urged industry to focus energy on implementing recent initiatives such as Tourism Australia's international youth campaign and a new online jobs board to drive success.




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