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Great Barrier Reef tourism operators to receive additional financial assistance

Great Barrier Reef tourism operators to receive additional financial assistance
May 13, 2020

An estimated $3 million in further fee relief from the Federal Government will be provided to local tourism businesses, as well as an additional $2.6 million from the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund to upgrade Reef HQ’s tourism infrastructure, helping one of the regional economies hit hardest during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack advised “so many regional economies have suffered through this pandemic and we are determined to help them rebuild and recover.

“By supporting tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef, we are protecting so many livelihoods.”

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham noted that the initiative would provide vital assistance for local tourism businesses who had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to ensure that tourism businesses can continue to operate on the other side and play a major role in helping the industry, and ultimately our economy, to recover from this.”

Federal Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley said that the $2.6 million for Townsville’s Reef HQ Aquarium would fund upgrades for systems that support the Aquarium’s marine life and will provide a number of employment and business opportunities in North Queensland. This investment is in addition to previously allocated capital works funding of $26.9 million.

“Reef HQ and the tourism industry play a vital role in educating visitors, and all Australians, about the Reef and about the ways we can help sustain it into the future.

“Importantly, the waiving of the Environmental Management Charges will not be at the expense of Reef protection, with the Australian Government providing additional funding over this period to support the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in its world-class management of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Warren Entsch said that Tourism Operators needed support at this time noting “we have a fantastic tourism industry along the Great Barrier Reef and they have been hit hard by this crisis.

“This will make a big difference and hopefully help them to be a part of our economic recovery.”

The Government had previously announced the waiving of the Environmental Management Charge (EMC) from 1st April 2020 to 31st Dec 2020. Approving the backdating of the EMC to 1st January of this year will result in around $3 million in further relief for the industry.

In addition, the Government will be waiving tourism operator Marine Park permit fees to 30th June 2021.

Urgent amendments to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park legislation will be put forward to enact the backdating of the EMC waiver.

In the interim, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is minimising the financial hardship on businesses through the deferral of payments to allow for the legislative amendments to be made.

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30th April 2020 - ATEC part of new Tourism Restart Taskforce to strengthen industry COVID-19 response

27th April 2020 - Tourism Australia revises Business Events Advance Program to support industry in COVID-19 recovery

26th April 2020 - Queensland and West Australian Governments announce easing of Coronavirus restrictions

17th April 2020 - Tourism thought leaders consider the impact of COVID-19

17th April 2020 - Prime Minister Morrison outlines plans for lifting of Coronavirus restrictions

17th April 2020 - WTTC commends global tourism industry for helping during COVID-19

21st March 2020 - One million jobs a day being lost due to Coronavirus pandemic

17th March 2020 - Coronavirus impact puts up to 50 million jobs at risk across global tourism

2nd November 2019 - Great Barrier Reef island reborn as eco-friendly luxury holiday destination

30th August 2019 - Great Barrier Reef status downgraded to very poor for first time

21st July 2019 - Great Barrier Reef’s Heart Island opened up for helicopter excursions

26th June 2019 - Research shows Great Barrier Reef visitors understand climate threat

17th April 2019 - Great Barrier Reef Tourism Operators call for Urgent Action from Australia’s politicians

3rd April 2019 - Tourism ‘the best partner for governments’ to generate jobs and economic growth

18th September 2018 - Coral Crusaders nursery aims to help Great Barrier Reef regeneration

8th June 2018 - Coral bleaching leads to fall in domestic tourism to Great Barrier Reef

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