With Australia’s travel agents dealing with unprecedented pressure, the industry’s peak body says the new coronavirus wage stimulus package is another step in the right direction.
Announced by the federal government on Tuesday, the $130 billion JobKeeper payment is designed to help keep Australians in jobs as they tackle the significant economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The payment will be open to eligible businesses, including sole traders, that receive a significant financial hit caused by the coronavirus, and will provide the equivalent of around 70 per cent of the national median wage.
You can read more about the JobKeeper payment and its eligibility criteria here.
Jayson Westbury (pictured above), CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), said that while the industry body is still unpacking the detail, the wage subsidy is “definitely a very welcome step”.
“The JobKeeper announcement is a nation-saving measure, and will enable Australian travel agents to maintain a connection where possible with their valued and experienced staff,” he said.
“We continue to lobby key decision-makers at a government and departmental level, as well as across the business community and travel sector, to work out where we can unlock even more support for travel agents.
“This isn’t necessarily yet headline news, but it’s work that is paying off with increased awareness of the unique challenges the travel sector faces.”
Westbury said AFTA will expand its webinar schedule to help agents keep on top of the “rising tsunami of information” and outline the next best steps to recovery.
This includes a dedicated JobKeeper payment webinar today and a weekly update hosted by Westbury on Friday.
“These are times like nothing we have ever experienced,” Westbury said.
“We are here for our members and we will get through this together.”
Late last month, AFTA announced the cancellation of its National Travel Industry Awards for 2020, which was set to be held in July at the ICC Sydney, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The association has also decided not to charge membership fees for the next billing year.