Hansard 16.18 22/03/2021 Federation Chamber
Mr LLEW O’BRIEN (Wide Bay—Deputy Speaker) (16:18):
When COVID-19 began, travel agents were the saviours of Australian tourists stuck in various corners of the globe.
They worked around the clock to get people home and, since then, they’ve been processing refunds for trips, tours and accommodation for cancelled travel arrangements.
Now they are now at their wits’ end. This week is their last week of JobKeeper.
They have watched the airline industries get another seven months of support, but, while the aviation sector receives more subsidies, the travel agents, who also rely on international borders being open, are still waiting to find out about their futures.
One travel agency in Tewantin had an income of just $6,500 for the first quarter of 2021, considerably less than what she requires to operate. Agencies are moving in together to slash costs.
In Peregian Beach, travel agents say they have no hope for recovery until international borders are reopened.
They tell me how they are suffering mentally due to the uncertainty of not knowing if they will lose their jobs or the businesses they have dedicated decades to.
To the travel agents of Wide Bay: I am listening and I will continue to pressure my own government to provide a support package to get you back on your feet.