Rising from the ashes – BYTAP initiative

January 21st, 2020 | | backpacker

Federal Government splashes the cash for the tourism sector, while BYTAP calls for action on WHM program to assist with bushfire recovery.

The bushfire recovery effort for the tourism sector is now in full swing. The Federal Government has announced investment of $76m into a Tourism Recovery Package, which includes six main initiatives outlined here:

Representatives from the tourism sector were recently briefed in Sydney by Senator Birmingham about how Tourism Australia will take the lead in coordinating both international and domestic tourism promotion campaigns to help encourage visitation across Australia in the wake of the bushfires and the enormous amount of negative media coverage resulting from it.

Meanwhile, the Backpacker Youth Tourism Advisory Panel (BYTAP) has identified their own ‘Six point action plan’ for the Federal Government to specifically support the Working Holiday Maker sector, with advocacy efforts underway, calling for the following:

  1. Reduction of the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) visa fee to around $315 or less (i.e. back to 2012 level indexed as a minimum) rather than the current $485
  2. Increasing the very low caps in place on 462 visa WHM countries (and so provide visas to meet demand)
  3. Resolving the uncertainty around income tax payable by WHMs
  4. Removing the additional tax impost on superannuation of WHMs (65% instead of 15% for Australians)
  5. Renewing of additional funding for Tourism Australia for three years (2021-2023) to target WHMs
  6. Resourcing measures to increase compliance and to reduce wage theft and unfair employment conditions – e.g. licensing of labour hire contractors.

There is also opportunity to promote the fact that the current 417 visa info on the Department of Immigration’s website already allows for the 88 days’ work for a 2nd visa (or six months’ work for a 3rd year visa) to count if it’s for “specified work in disaster affected areas” – i.e. “construction work in eligible regional areas” – this includes fencing (which will be a big job on farms as part of the bushfire recovery effort).

Organisations such as BlazeAid are also petitioning the Federal Government to allow volunteer work in rural areas to count towards the 88 days if it’s to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed in the bushfires. Both the Federal Tourism Minister (Senator Simon Birmingham) and the Minister for Home Affairs (Peter Dutton MP) are said to be taking a personal interest in how to help get the tourism industry back on its feet, including a review of what visa conditions and costs may need to be reviewed, so watch this space.

And don’t forget to channel any donations from your guests or organisations to the Australian Travel Industry Red Cross fundraising page set up by Adam Ogle of Welcome To Travel, which has already raised $43K.

Any operators who run ski trips might also like to donate a prize to the bushfire fundraising travel auction being run by Snow Aid:

Supporting affected communities during this time of resilience is more important than ever. Reminding travellers that areas are not only safe, but open for business is essential across Australia as we band together – it’s great to see so much solidarity coming out of adversity… that’s the Australian spirit! As is this prank on a ITV Scottish journalist about the legendary ‘drop bears’ that went viral during the crisis!

Source: BYTAP

Sourced by Mike Barrow