Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Suspicions that Federal Government’s $1.2 billion tourism stimulus package targets marginal constituencies

Suspicions that Federal Government’s $1.2 billion tourism stimulus package targets marginal constituencies
March 11, 2021

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has today confirmed details of the $1.2 billion package aimed at getting more Australians to undertake domestic travel, but has been immediately criticised for focusing the airline subsidies on travel to areas that are largely marginal Federal electorates.

Announced this morning, the assistance package includes subsidies for domestic air travel and money for Qantas and Virgin to stay ready for when borders reopen.

In practice it will see the Federal Government pay 50% of the cost of 800,000 domestic flights to 13 destinations between 1st April and 31st July while international borders remain closed.

The destinations are the Gold Coast; Cairns; the Whitsundays region; the Sunshine Coast; the Lasseter region of the Northern Territory which includes Uluru and Alice Springs; Launceston, Devonport and Burnie in Tasmania; Broome in Western Australia; Avalon, Victoria; Merimbula in southern NSW and Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

The package, to be introduced when the JobKeeper subsidy ends later this month will also include loans of up to $5 million to tourism businesses with two-year repayment holidays.

However, of the 13 locations that will be eligible for discounted flights, eight were immediately identified as being in marginal Federal electorates.

Of the remaining five

While Federal Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has predictably criticised the package for focusing on marginal Federal seats rather than the regions most in need of tourism support, Tourism Council WA (TCWA) Chief Executive, Evan Hall says the package is a "devastating blow" to the state's tourism industry.

With Broome the only location named as a discounted tourist destination in Western Australia, Hall stated "this is a devastating blow for Western Australian tourism.

"Not only are we going to see an end of support for those tourism businesses on JobKeeper that need support to keep going, but we are going to see subsidised flights into the east coast that are going to draw visitors away from Western Australia and into east coast destinations.

"Overwhelmingly, these discounted flights are going to regional, marginal seats.

"They have treated the economic impact on the tourism industry as a political problem.

"We think it is an absolutely appalling way to treat the tourism industry that has been devastated by international and interstate border closures.

"We need those interstate visitors for our businesses to recover.

"But a lot of people in Sydney or Melbourne now, instead of choosing Perth and Margaret River or Kununurra, are going to choose Surfers Paradise, or Cairns, or Launceston."

However, in reference to regional NSW, Prime Minister Morrison said those areas had not been included in the package because tourism in the state has largely recovered.

Another anomaly is that Queenslanders will not be supported to travel within their own state.

While people from outside Queensland will be able to get the cheap flights to the Whitsundays, Cairns, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, people flying from Brisbane airport have to travel out of state.

Commenting that it will take some time for benefits to trickle through to tourism operators, Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) Chief Executive, Daniel Gschwind stated "it remains to be seen how that will come through to them, how the benefits will flow through to them they're in urgent need of this and we're a little bit concerned that it may take a bit too long for them.

"Our main concern always has been to support the business who need to keep their jobs in place for their staff and that's not entirely clear how it will work and how quickly it will work."

For further information on the COVID 19 tourism support plan visit 

For further information on the Small and Medium Enterprise Recovery Loan Scheme visit

Images: Broome, the only location named as a discounted tourist destination in Western Australia (top) and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (below).

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

Related Articles

11th March 2021 - Federal Government’s tourism package includes six-month extension of Zoos and Aquarium program

11th March 2021 - ATIC says tourism package will fail to stem major tourism job and business losses

10th March 2021 - Federal Government set to subsidise flights in tourism support package to replace JobKeeper

30th November 2020 - New tour experience showcases Kangaroo Island Wilderness trail recovery

8th March 2021 - ATEC highlights the impact of declining inbound tourism on regional communities

27th February 2021 - Ecotourism Australia continues to call for funding support from Federal Government

26th February 2021 - $40 million funding support announced for Indigenous Tourism

23rd February 2021 - AFTA spotlights the need for JobKeeper extension for the tourism industry

18th February 2021 - Australia’s $45 billion export tourism Industry at risk without JobKeeper replacement

17th February 2021 - VTIC fear loss of jobs in Victoria tourism and events without further support

11th February 2021 - Tourism Australia launches new campaign to boost business events across Australia

2nd February 2021 - Queensland Acting Premier calls for JobKeeper extension to support tourism industry

1st February 2021 - Without JobKeeper Australian tourism businesses face ‘annihilation’

21st January 2021 - Australian tourism industry haemorrhaged almost $7 billion over the summer holidays

14th January 2021 - TCWA says one in five Western Australian tourism businesses at risk if JobKeeper ends

13th January 2021 - South Australian tourism sector seeks extension of JobKeeper beyond March 2021

10th November 2020 - ATEC highlights that tourism exporters need JobKeeper support until international borders reopen

9th March 2021 - Local communities share $10 million funding for bushfire wildlife and habitat recovery

23rd February 2021 - Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome names new koala joey

7th January 2021 - Cairns’ Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park to close as COVID-19 hits tourism business

9th October 2020 - QTIC shares tourism industry’s election priorities for next Queensland Government

12th September 2020 - Prime Minister Morrison denies targeting marginal constituencies when deciding sports grant expansion

7th July 2020 - QTIC’s COVIDSafe events framework supports getting the ‘show to go on’

11th May 2020 - Prime Minister Morrison denies misleading Parliament over involvement in sports rorts

11th May 2020 - Tourism Council WA welcomes tourism recovery guidelines

23rd January 2020 - ‘Sports rorts’ scandal: Revelation that upmarket golf, rowing and tennis clubs received major grants

23rd January 2020 - ‘Sports rorts’ review to be assessed by Prime Minister’s department

15th January 2020 - Audit Office report confirms that Federal Government targeted marginal seats with potentially illegal sports grants

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Pricemark Pty Ltd

Pricemark supplies a wide range of custom branded membership & RFID access products for the Health & Leisure Industry. 

read more



Jonas Leisure

JonasLeisure offers a complete range of leading leisure and recreation software brands – envibe, Centaman, Gladstone Health & Leisure, The Retention People, Nutrition Complete and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport



SLE Worldwide Australia is a Managing General Underwriter specialising in insuring risks in the world of Sports, Leisure and Entertainment. Be it relaxing, playing, organising or watching sports,…

read more

Insurance / Venues



The Fitness Generation is now part of NovoFit - see

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness



Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation



Email for trade enquiries:  Customer support desk - Click Myzone support or go to ‘help’ on myzone app to access live support. Myzone® is the leading…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Aussie Strength

We are Aussie Strength. The ultimate supplier for Commercial Gym Equipment that's built to deliver in the toughest environments. From USA-Built hardcore weight training equipment from Arsenal…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


Worldwide Sports Management

Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business