Federal Budget “unlikely” to deliver major benefits for agents: AFTA

Canberra, Australia - March 14, 2014: A man walks down steps before the Treasury Building on Langton Crescent, which houses the Department of the Treasury. This arm of the Australian Government oversees economic policy and the federal budget.

Travel agents have been warned not to expect much from this year’s Federal Budget, but that hasn’t stopped the sector’s peak body from continuing to push for continued support.

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has eight of its directors in Canberra for this week’s Federal Budget sittings, with Treasurer Josh Frydenburg to share the government’s big spending plans tonight.

Chair Tom Manwaring, vice chairs Graham “Skroo” Turner and Christian Hunter, David Smith, Laura Ruffles, David Greenland, David Padman and Jo Sully are all volunteering their time to spend several days in the nation’s capital lobbying and briefing stakeholders across the political spectrum and participating in all key events.

The eight AFTA directors will also hold a series of strategy sessions while down in Canberra.

Manwaring said AFTA’s lobbying continues to be on two levels.

“There’s our immediate focus on the grants support and the push for it to be extended,” he said.

“Plus, there’s the longer-term push for ongoing government support separate to the grants program until international travel resumes, and the need for a pathway plan for international travel around borders and travel bubbles.

“We also want greater recognition of the value of the travel agency distribution model and our service to the Australian community.”

As well as briefing a number of government and Opposition offices, Manwaring said AFTA is working on a wider industry strategy with other key bodies including the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Airports Association and the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux.

“Do we expect to see any headline items in the Budget for travel agents and businesses? It’s unlikely,” Manwaring said.

“But we continue to be buoyed by the positive response from government, [the] ALP and the key independents, who all acknowledge the identification of the travel sector for continued consideration.”

Featured image source: iStock/kokkai

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