The Cairns region has lost half of its market from the pandemic and the related border closures, with around 250 local businesses having to close their doors. There are between 700 and 800 businesses still relying on the JobKeeper payments to operate. With the JobKeeper subsidy due to cease at the end of March, there are fears that Cairns will never recover.
Cairns heavily relies on international tourism to maintain their economy and keep many businesses running. Formerly many of the businesses worked to cater the 3500 international tourists prior to the pandemic.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is set to visit Cairns this coming Monday to partake in a tour with local industry representatives. There is doubt that a new assistance package will be announced at this stage.
Businesses within the area have shown that they had to begin prioritise targeting the domestic market, only made more difficult by stringent border closures. While there has been some business on a domestic scale, it will never fully bridge the gap that has been left by the lack of international tourists.
Whilst figures have been released that have showed GDP growth has been over 3 per cent for two consecutive quarters, Mr Frydenberg has said that, “We recognise that some sectors and regions are doing it tough, particularly those impacted by the continued international travel restrictions and previous state border closures.”
Clearly businesses feel they need further support, and there are plans underway to provide this to them.
Frydenberg continued, “The government is considering what other supports we can put in place post the temporary JobKeeper payment to ensure Australia’s economic recovery continues.”
Tourism Australia has worked on its $6 million “City Escapes” campaign to encourage Australia’s to travel within our States and Territories.
Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has also endorsed the idea of diverting $150 to students in an attempt to have them visit the Great Barrier Reef and support the economy.