The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) applauds the announcement by the Federal Government of a $715 million support package to help Australia’s domestic airlines weather the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.
The events of the last weeks, and responses by nations to curb the spread of COVID-19, have seen international air services slashed by 90% as carriers see borders being closed across the globe.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani welcomed the move by the Morrison Government.
“This support package is absolutely vital in supporting our Australian carriers to stay afloat in the current unfolding crisis.
“The aviation industry, along with the broader tourism, travel and events sectors have been slammed since the first of February with the rolling restrictions and bans on international travel.
“This has subsequently also seen our domestic visitation shrink to levels never seen before.
“Aviation is the backbone of commerce and trade. The critical role it plays in our economic fabric stretches well beyond leisure visitation. We need to do everything we can to support their ability to weather this current crisis and emerge on the other end in a solid position to support the nation’s recovery and growth into the future,” Ms Mariani said.
The Government’s package to support the industry will include the refund and waiver of aviation fuel excise, air service charges and domestic and regional aviation security charges, with the relief backdated to 1 February, delivering another $160 million in financial support.
“This is a terrific step by the Morrison Government in supporting business to stay afloat during this unprecedented time of crisis.
“Last week’s $17 billion stimulus package was another great example of the leadership being shown at the federal level to help businesses to manage through these challenging times, but more is needed.
“While stimulus was appropriate a week ago, we are now in the territory of ‘support to survive’ and we look forward to the Government announcing further measures to support business in our efforts to keep people employed.
“Victorian businesses across the board need both State and Federal Governments working together to deliver packages that will enable them to retain staff, to allow people to continue receiving wages while potentially under mandatory quarantine measures, and provide much-needed financial relief and concessions that will help them keep their businesses in business over the height of this unfolding crisis.
“VTIC looks forward to subsequent announcements and encourages the Victorian Government to respond in-kind with a package designed to deliver relief to our tourism businesses across the state who are verging on collapse under the strain of COVID-19,” Ms Mariani concluded.