Interview with Natalie Barr, Sunrise

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Tourism and aviation support package, Support for the tourism sector, Border closures, COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
31 March 2021

Natalie Barr: Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan joins me now from Canberra. Morning to you. Look, on a normal week, we would be celebrating this, it’s a great initiative. But, we’re staring down the barrel of these twin COVID clusters in Queensland, Brisbane’s locked down, it could be extended, the Gold Coast could be locked down. Is this enough help?

Dan Tehan: Look, it’s very important that we remember that all the other destinations across Australia are open and people can travel to them, and also that these discount flights – you can book up until the end of July – but the flights you can take are up until the end of September, and we know that we’ll get through this in Brisbane at the moment. So, what we need is everyone to start supporting the tourism industry, forward book your holidays and remember – and this will be part of the ads that we’re launching at the moment – is when you go on holiday, spend that little bit extra. Spend so you’re supporting our local tourism industries, our cafes, our restaurants, those wonderful experiences that you can take right across this nation. Because if we do that, if we spend like we spend when we travel overseas, that’s the best thing we can do to support our tourism industry at the moment.

Barr: Yeah, they have been doing it so tough. We heard from Queensland tourism yesterday, they’ve really been clinging on for a year. Are you confident that people will have the confidence to book ahead, given that there are still border closures this week?

Tehan: Well, that’s part of why we’ve put this initiative in place, is to give people that confidence. We know that we’ll be able to deal with these outbreaks of the virus. So, people should have the confidence to travel again and I say to all Australians, do your patriotic duty, book a holiday and get out and support our tourism industry. And, one of the things which is fantastic about this initiative is the airlines have also jumped on board. So, they’ve got also discounted prices to other destinations. So, the aviation sector has jumped in behind this, so now we need all Australians getting behind this initiative as well.

Barr: Yeah. While we’ve got you, just on the vaccine rollout, we’ve got several states only basically doing 50 per cent of the jabs. Should the Federal Government take a more active role, should the ADF be brought in, do you think this time?

Tehan: Well, we are taking an active role, and obviously we’re distributing the vaccines to the states and the territories. And, we once again call upon them to make sure now that they’re using those vaccines and making sure that every vaccine that they have available to them is being used so that we can make sure that we’re vaccinating – especially those frontline health workers and then vulnerable Australians and then elderly Australians – because the more protection we can give to those groups, obviously the easier it is for us to open up our economy and make sure that we’re supporting our tourism industry by giving people the confidence to travel.

Barr: Yep. No, that sounds like, as you say, some are being held back for the second doses, but we need to get them out there, don’t we?

Tehan: We do.

Barr: Dan Tehan, we thank you for your time this morning.

Tehan: Thanks, Nat.

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