Federal Shadow Tourism Minister, Senator Don Farrell, said he is committed to helping rebuild Australia’s travel industry.
Farrell, a senator for South Australia, Shadow Special Minister of State and Shadow Minister for Sport and Tourism, has been a long-standing champion of Australia’s travel agents, working behind the scenes and on the floor of Parliament to refine the government’s support for the sector.
Addressing Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) members during a webinar last week, Farrell said he made the decision early on that Labor wouldn’t “score political points” from an industry that was hurting as badly as travel.
“Where possible we have done the best we could to support the government in practical decisions and pushing them to make those decisions as early as they could,” he said.
A priority of AFTA’s advocacy over the past two years has been engaging across the Liberal, National and Labor parties as well as key independents to emphasise the importance of Australia’s travel sector and the travel professionals who work in it is understood and the necessary ongoing support provided.
“As part of this process, we also continue to invite key decision-makers both political and bureaucratic to hear from and respond to our members. As part of this process it was a delight to have Senator the Hon Don Farrell address our webinar this week,” Dean Long, AFTA’s CEO said.
According to Farrell, the Labor party is in the process of internal discussions around what the industry needs and will be making some announcements soon.
“What I have done in the last 18 months or so is listen to the industry to get a sense of the things that will really help in the recovery,” he said.
“We will continue talking to you. We know what the issues are and we intend to bring forward policies to deal with that as we recover.
“We are well aware of the struggles the travel sector has gone through and AFTA has been very active in this regard. I’m very honoured to be able to speak to you today.
“I don’t think there’s any other group in our community that’s done it tougher than you. I know the struggles you’ve gone through and I’d like to help as much as I can in what I hope will be a strong, long-standing recovery.”
Long thanked Farrell for his ongoing support and work behind the scenes to secure support for the travel industry.
“He has advocated extremely strongly in the party room and across Caucus as well as on the floor of Parliament. His focus on helping us to get the support our sector needs over these two years and as we move forward through recovery and rebuild is greatly appreciated.”