Today the Federal Government announced a $1.2 billion tourism and aviation support package to drive the economic recovery in pandemic-hit industries and regions. The scheme encourages Australian travellers to access up to 800,000 half-price airfares (subsidised by the Federal Government) to fly interstate to 13 regions identified by the government.
Cairns, Whitsundays, Hamilton Island, Sunshine Coast, and Gold Coast are all Queensland destinations included in the scheme. Unfortunately, Townsville North Queensland is not one of the 13. Following this announcement today the Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson has written to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack expressing his "...disappointment that Townsville has not been included in the initial list of regional destinations that will benefit from the flight subsidies..." and requests the DPM to "consider including Townsville on this list as a matter of priority". You can read the full letter HERE. We have also held discussions with Senator Susan McDonald's office today on this issue and we acknowledge both local representatives for their strong advocacy for Townsville's inclusion.
This follows the Queensland Government on Monday announcing a scheme designed specifically to support the Tropical North Queensland region through a $3M initiative which is providing 15,000 free $200 travel vouchers to spend in Cairns enticing visitation to the region. We will continue discussions around extending these tourism support measures with all levels of government, as both our State and Federal representatives have an important role to play in this sector's recovery.
In some positive news however, on Tuesday the Queensland Government additionally launched The Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program aimed at supporting Great Barrier Reef operators and regions by providing up to $150 for eligible students to go towards travel, accommodation and experience expenses on a school reef excursion. The program will be available for all primary and secondary schools in Queensland to undertake school excursions along the length of the Great Barrier Reef from Cooktown to Bundaberg.