Palaszczuk swoops in for emergency NQ job talks
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has been urged to think of frontline tourism operators when visiting Cairns to discuss the industry's future.
Ms Palaszczuk and Cairns MP Michael Healy will meet Far North tourism representatives on Wednesday to discuss the industry's economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The looming end to JobKeeper and the tourism industry's future if the federal government does not extend the deadline is worrying operators.
Sailaway Port Douglas owner Steve Edmondson said he was optimistic about the talks but hoped smaller businesses most at risk would be able to have their say.
Ms Palaszczuk said her visit to Cairns would focus on getting feedback from the tourism industry to ensure operators kept getting the support they needed to recover.
"Over the last 12 months, we've worked closely with operators to deliver millions of dollars' worth of support for the local tourism sector," she said.
"Thanks to the way locals have responded to this health crisis, we've also seen restrictions start to ease."
Sailaway Port Douglas owner Steve Edmondson, who hadn't been invited to the meeting, said he was optimistic to hear about the Premier's visit, but hoped smaller businesses most at risk would be able to have their say.
"They need to understand that the business owners are the ones committed to employing people and there needs to be some sort of lifeline to keep them in the game until a vaccine rollout and confidence resumes," he said.
"Tourism is a huge connector to the rest of the economy.
"Even as a small business, we put back $3.5m in the local economy a year.
"I'm glad they're starting a conversation and if there's good intent on how to direct assistance, then bring it on."
Over the last 12 months, the Palaszczuk government has committed more than $64m to support tourism businesses in Far North Queensland to recover from COVID-19.
Ms Palaszczuk said the support included $10.6m in small business grants to enable operators to adapt and sustain their operations, a $6.5m investment into tourism infrastructure and more than $18.4m in job support loans to protect local jobs.
Mr Healy said he had been in constant contact with tourism operators, carrying their message.
He said he understood the economic importance of the tourism industry to the Far Northern economy.
"Our community and our economy relies on a strong tourism industry," Mr Healy said.
That's why I've invited the Premier back to Cairns to follow up with operators.
"This government has invested more in rebuilding the tourism industry than any other state government in Australia because we recognise how important it is to support tourism jobs."
Originally published as Palaszczuk swoops in for emergency Cairns job talks