The Nationals WA member for Agricultural Region Colin de Grussa has called on the Labor Government to prioritise the use of local regionally-based travel agencies when booking air travel across the State.
Mr de Grussa said under the Labor Government’s common user contracting arrangements, State agencies were compelled to book their travel through a Queensland company, denying the economic benefit to WA.
“Our regional travel agencies are doing it extraordinarily tough at the moment because of the closure of interstate and international borders and reduced flights,” Mr de Grussa said.
“No-one is travelling and there is no certainty within the industry about when things may improve.
“This is an absurd situation for our State. Given the extreme hardship currently being suffered by local travel agencies the Government should be doing everything in its power to send trade their way and support regional businesses and families.”
With the Job Keeper allowance due to end in September and indications that international borders will remain closed until 2021, the Labor Government needs to act now, so local jobs in the travel industry aren’t lost.
“The Government is very quick to spruik its supposed focus on creating jobs, let’s see if they are capable of making a simple decision to help struggling family businesses in regional WA,” Mr de Grussa said.
“Even though West Australians haven’t been able to fly out of the State, travel agents have still been busy during the COVID-19 crisis dealing with journeys home, cancellations, repatriation of loved ones and refunds.
“Yet during that time there have been very little or no bookings bringing actual revenue into the businesses.
“While other industries have been able to reposition themselves with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, with no certainty on the opening of state and international borders, local regionally-based travel agencies have not been able to do the same.
“The Labor Government needs to come to their aid.”