Sydney, 16th October 2020.

Dr Fiona Martin MP
Federal Member for Reid

Dear Dr Martin.

RE: The Travel Agency Industry and the imperative of tailored support

Further to my correspondence of 26th August 2020, I am now, on behalf The Maxim’s Group (TMG) and the entire Travel Agency community, imploring the Australian Federal Government to tailor specific funding assistance to our sector.

Whilst we certainly appreciate the continuation of the JobKeeper initiative through to March 2021 coupled with recently announced measures in the Federal Budget regarding Loss Carry Back provisions, this is simply not enough to ensure the survival of our industry.

Loss Carry Back provisions are not relevant to my company for various reasons, the first being that we were a successful and profitable company dutifully paying all federal and state taxes as a bona fide company should. In addition, one of the criteria to hold an International Air Transportation Association Licence (i.e.: the ability for us to issue airline tickets) states that we must be in profit every single financial year. Basically, we are not allowed to be unprofitable otherwise extremely onerous financial guarantees and warranties are required.

As such, whilst admirable in its intent, the Loss Carry Back provision announced by the treasurer has no value to TMG albeit potentially valuable to other industries.

Another factor that compounds the diabolical situation we are in is the continuation of border closures. This, at its core, is one of the most harmful, punitive and destructive policies that any State government, regardless of their political persuasion can have. We categorically accept, that should wide, and varied opinions be canvassed from health experts and most of those opinions indicate a maintaining of border closures, we would support that. We are also extremely supportive of an international border closure if the health advice is to remain closed. We understand that there is a substantial risk in the opening of international borders and simply prosecute the argument of safely opening them at the earliest opportunity.

The converse side of the international border closure however is that the majority of sales and profitability comes from this sector. Whilst our borders remain closed, this inhibits our ability to be profitable and in fact, the ability for us to stand on our “own two feet:” This is again another reason why targeted industry support is required from all levels of government. To give you some context as to the direct impact to TMG, our volume is currently down 99.24% down on the previous year’s
comparative period.

Our representative body, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, lodged a   pre-budget submission for $125M of industry wide support. After recent announcements by the Trade and Tourism Minister as with the Treasurer that our international borders will more than likely remain closed until late 2021, I put to you that $125M will not be enough to sustain our industry. I will leave it to the relevant representatives to work through the detail however, as I mentioned at the outset of my correspondence, we desperately need government support.

Dr Martin, I would be extremely grateful if you could raise this issue with the Prime Minister, Treasurer, Trade and Tourism Minister and if possible, have it tabled at the next cabinet meeting.

The Travel Agency community is on its knees and historically is a proud and resilient industry however these current circumstances are beyond catastrophic. We need your help.

Yours Faithfully,