AFTA urges states to join reform bandwagon

AFTA urges states to join reform bandwagon
By admin

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents remains confident that the two rogue states who have yet to sign up to radical industry reforms will come on board.

Western Australia and South Australia failed to lend their support to the plans at last Friday's meeting of consumer affairs ministers with both states "considering their options".

The recent collapse of Classic International Cruises, which impacted many WA residents, and the forthcoming elections in the state are thought to have swayed WA's position.

SA's reluctance to sign up is understood to have surprised reformists.

AFTA chief executive Jayson Westbury said he will contact the state minister's "as soon as is practicable" and "certainly before Christmas".

"I can't see how they could possibly contemplate not subscribing to the new arrangements because it will be to the detriment of businesses operating in their states," he said. "I don't think the government is going to do that. The business detriment does not outweigh the perceived benefit of consumer compensation."

He claimed it would not only leave agents in those states competing against overseas operators who do not have to pay into a compensation fund but inter-state competitors.

Going it alone would be "crazily parochial and near impossible to implement because of the confusion it would create", Westbury added.

He said a scenario could arise where a WA resident books with a NSW agent, or the reverse where a NSW resident books with a WA travel firm.

"I am hoping common sense will prevail," he said. "We will be writing to both ministers expressing our delight at Friday's outcome and hoping they will be very soon indicate what their intentions are."

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