Tourism body calls for JobKeeper’s reinstatement to keep outback industry, hospitality alive

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Tourism Central Australia (TCA) is calling for the federal JobKeeper scheme to be reinstated so that the region’s struggling tourism and hospitality industries are kept alive.

As the fourth round of Territory Tourism Vouchers is due to be introduced in October — offering to match up to $200 dollars of spending on Northern Territory tourism experiences — TCA chief executive Danial Rochford says while the vouchers are welcome, support dedicated specifically to Central Australia is needed.

“The reality is last year was bad, but this year has been disastrous,” Mr Rochford said.

“The only difference is that we don’t have the safety net that we had this time last year,” he said.

Mr Rochford said that the voucher scheme was inequitable.

“It’s going based on essentially population lines,” he said.

“This program has … on all three rounds [been] going on that basis, which is seeing around 10 to 15 per cent flow through to Central Australia.

“So, that’s 85 per cent going through into the Top End.”

With the long, hot summer approaching, Mr Rochford said his members were anxious about the future.

“Our industry is in crisis,” he said.

Mr Rochford said central Australian tourism was “on its knees”, and that the sector would welcome more “initiatives and support” to ensure the viability of many businesses in the region.

Disastrous year

Tourism Minister Natasha Fyles said the Northern Territory Government had listened to Tourism Central Australia.

“What we have done in Central Australia is provide an additional $1.25 million, directly to tourism Central Australia,” Ms Fyles said.

“That was for their ‘Mates Rates’ incentives.”

Mr Rochford said that, as good as that incentive was, it was still very hard with many states offline thanks to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“We are working our arse off at the moment to try [to] write as much business [as possible], given the challenging environment that we’re working in,” Mr Rochford said.

“We are calling on all governments — whether it’s the Northern Territory government [or] the federal government, to provide the assistance that we need at this difficult time.”

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(Original ABC Article)