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Tourism body's $7.75b rescue plan to stop industry going 'extinct'

Business

Industries staring down the barrel of ongoing coronavirus restrictions have made a renewed push for targeted lifelines when wage subsidies end.

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The tourism sector is lobbying for a $7.75 billion rescue package designed to save 318,000 jobs when JobKeeper finishes at the end of next month.

The Tourism and Transport Forum has commissioned modelling warning of the potential extinction of the industry, with an estimated loss of more than 300,000 jobs nationwide.

TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said more job losses would be dire after billions of dollars in losses throughout 2020 including $6.8 billion over the summer holidays.

“Without this targeted industry-specific support, there may not be a tourism industry left at the end of this year,” she said on Thursday.

The lifeline would provide $1000 to $1500 a fortnight for each employee from businesses with a 30 to 50 per cent downturn on 2019 revenue.

It would run from April to the end of the year and be reviewed quarterly.

TTF predicts the package could regrow employment in the sector to 75 per cent of 2019 levels.

Arts and entertainment workers are also desperate for targeted support with many not able to access coronavirus economic stimulus programs.

Australian Festivals Association general manager Julia Robinson said concerts were returning but not at levels even slightly resembling the pre-pandemic landscape.

“The things we’re seeing go on sale, it’s great and I think consumer confidence is really high at the moment, things are selling really well,” she told ABC radio.

“But that’s because there’s not actually much going on sale compared to pre-COVID sales.”

With gathering limits remaining in place, vaccination shapes as crucial to reviving live music and other performances.

The nation’s most senior medical officials have launched a fresh push to encourage people to receive jabs.

That’s in response to new survey data that showed 27 per cent of people were unsure if they would be vaccinated against coronavirus.

Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the figure represented hesitancy, which would be easier to shift than the nine per cent who say they will refuse outright.

“We certainly are concerned about that,” he said.

“That demonstrates that we need to continue to stress the vaccines as being safe and effective.”

AstraZeneca has become the second vaccine to receive approval in Australia, joining the Pfizer drug, which will start being administered from Monday.

Kelly said both were proven to offer strong protection against severe illness and death from coronavirus.

Victoria recorded another day without a local case of coronavirus on Thursday, which marked the end of a five-day lockdown.

-AAP

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