Call for more State Government support


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will meet with Far North tourism operators in Cairns today.
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Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said he hoped that further support would be forthcoming from the state government to assist the Douglas Shire.

The comments are timely as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe and the member for Cairns Michael Healy, will meet today (4.oo) in Cairns with Far North tourism operators to discuss the industry’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Assisting regions like ours will ensure we can grow our domestic market. With the limited outlook of international flights it is imperative that we have a very strong domestic holiday visitation,” said Kerr.

Tara Bennett, chief executive officer of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, who will be attending the meeting, said she would raise the following:

  • The on-going challenges of the Douglas region as we trade through our low season with the end of Job Keeper fast approaching;
  • On-going state government support for tourism in regional centres that are a long way from recovery;
  • Consistent state border measures around flare ups to rebuild the confidence of interstate travellers, and
  • Programs to address the labour shortage that is stretching the industry.

Over the last 12 months, the Palaszczuk Government had committed more than $64 million to support tourism businesses in Far North Queensland to recover from COVID-19.

The Premier said this support included $10.6 million in small business grants to enable operators to adapt and sustain their operations, a $6.5 million investment into tourism infrastructure and more than $18.4 million in job support loans to protect local jobs.

“Tourism operators in the Far North have done it extremely tough over the last 18 months,” the Premier said.

“Over the last 12 months, we’ve worked closely with operators to deliver millions of dollars’ worth of support for the local tourism sector.

“Thanks to the way locals have responded to this health crisis, we’ve also seen restrictions start to ease.

“Today is about getting feedback from the industry to ensure we continue to support operators to rebuild and recover,” said Premier Palaszczuk.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said he had been in constant contact with tourism operators, carrying their message as he understands the economic importance of the tourism industry to the Far Northern economy.

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