LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to urgently deliver an emergency assistance package for the Gold Coast, Far North Queensland and other tourist centres, as the coronavirus crisis threatens to wipe out thousands of jobs.
Ms Frecklington said many tourism regions, such as the Far North, were already suffering low international visitor numbers before restrictions on air travel from China to Australia were introduced yesterday.
“Coronavirus is an economic crisis as well as a health emergency,” Ms Frecklington said.
“While every effort must be made to contain the disease, the Palaszczuk Government also needs to immediately develop a plan to save Queensland jobs.
“China is Queensland’s most important overseas tourism market. Last year we welcomed almost 500,000 Chinese visitors and they injected more than $1.5bn into our economy.
“There’s no question that the loss of this market will have a major impact on this state.
“Businesses and jobs are at risk from the Cape to Currumbin and Labor needs to focus on getting our tourist sector through this challenge.”
Ms Frecklington said the assistance package could include:
- Interest-free loans for affected businesses
- Local economic development plans, working with Regional Tourism Organisations
- Attracting more visitors by ramping up marketing in international markets other than China, including NZ, the USA and Europe
- Boosting local tourism expenditure by encouraging Queenslanders to holiday at home
LNP candidate for Currumbin Laura Gerber urged the Palaszczuk Labor Government to take immediate steps to protect tourism jobs in the Gold Coast electorate.
“The Gold Coast is the number one destination in Queensland for Chinese tourists, so we need action to save local jobs – starting now,” Ms Gerber said.
“One in seven local jobs depend on tourism. The LNP will fight to save every single one.”