The industry’s peak bodies have welcomed the new government after Anthony Albanese was sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister this morning alongside four senior ministers.
The Labor party quietly committed to a $48 million tourism and travel package last week to help rebuild the industry, including a $10 million injection in training and skills development for hospitality and accommodation.
Peter Shelley, managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC), said the additional funding will be crucial in supporting travel businesses to reconnect with international markets and rebuild their workforce.
Shelley is looking forward to working alongside the Albanese government to help get the industry back on its feet.
“Over the past two years, ATEC has built a strong relationship with the Labor party, ensuring they are across the key issues being faced by our industry,” he said.
“We are confident the new ministry is well informed and ready to support tourism’s future.
“As an industry which delivered $45bn in revenue to our economy, export tourism is a valuable contributor which will help drive Australia’s future success.
“ATEC looks forward to meeting Australia’s new tourism minister to successfully build on the opportunities our industry offers.”
Ministerial portfolios are expected to be announced on 30 May, however, it is likely former shadow minister for tourism Senator Don Farrell will be Australia’s next Minister for Tourism.
The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has been working closely with Farrell, who is a long-standing and vocal champion of Australia’s Travel Agents.
According to AFTA CEO Dean Long, Farrell has consistently worked behind the scenes and been vocal on the floor of Parliament to push the need for ongoing support.
In a recent webinar, Farrell met with AFTA members and highlighted his focus on listening to the industry to find out how to best aid its recovery.
“Importantly, AFTA will continue our bipartisan approach as we need to make sure that all key decision-makers in our parliaments, federal, state and territory understand the challenges and the opportunities to support,” Long said.“Travel and Tourism is a massive economic driver for the Australian economy and Australia’s travel businesses are key economic contributors within communities in every part of Australia. “Given the economic challenges facing us at a national, sector and community level, the involvement of the private sector in scoping and shaping the solution is more important than ever before.”
In April, Farrell told AFTA members 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.
“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.
“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.”
The cruise industry has also welcomed the Albanese government, however, peak body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) chose to also acknowledge the previous Coalition Government’s role in supporting the tourism economy and responding to recent challenges.
In particular, CLIA praised the previous government for “opening a pathway to the revival of cruising in Australia”.
CLIA’s regional managing director, Joel Katz said he looks forward to working with the incoming government on the revival of Australia’s cruise economy and to help strengthen the country’s wider tourism revival.
“Cruising will play an important part in Australia’s long-term tourism development and will be a key contributor to the revival of international visitor spending in our region,” Katz said.
“As cruising takes its first steps towards recovery after its pandemic suspension, it will be important to focus on the long-term role a vibrant and prosperous cruise industry will play in bringing economic benefits to communities right around Australia’s coasts.”
From the aviation sector, the Transport Worker’s Union (TWU) national secretary, Michael Kaine, said the change in government is a welcome relief.
“Prior to the election, the Labor Government pledged to stabilise aviation and provide secure jobs with reform to address the vulnerabilities in the industry and reverse the race to the bottom on wages and conditions,” Kaine said.
“A mass exodus of skilled workers who were abandoned by the Coalition throughout the pandemic has left the industry falling short on safety and service, like passengers experienced at our major airports over Easter.
“Aviation workers with the full backing of the TWU are ready for change, and will be holding the new Federal Government to account on its commitments.”
Featured image credit: Facebook/AlboMP