By Daniel McCulloch
States and territories that keep their borders shut longer than needed could be forced to prop up tourism businesses that suffer the consequences.
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has singled out Western Australia for its hard border, saying travel restrictions should be proportionate to the risks of coronavirus across different jurisdictions.
“All the states are making fair judgments across the board,” he told ABC radio on Thursday.
“But if we get to a point where some states choose to keep their border restrictions in place longer than even reasonable health advice would suggest, well then those states need to stump up and also help to support the tourism industry.”
‘Stump up’: Minister Simon Birmingham. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE
Senator Birmingham said the Federal Government had pumped billions of dollars worth of assistance into tourism businesses and their employees, with JobKeeper wage subsidies available until the end of March.
“If the states are going to cripple their markets even further than is necessary, then they should be helping out too,” he said.
Senator Birmingham acknowledged the situation in Victoria was dire, but questioned why Western Australia was refusing to accept visitors from South Australia, where infections are almost non-existent.
He is also perplexed about the Northern Territory floating the possibility of an 18-month lockout.
South Australia will soon introduce tighter border controls.
From next Friday, people who live close to the border will only be allowed into the state if they have essential reasons for travel.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he understood the response and would try to ensure the restrictions were as workable as possible.
Mr Andrews is also working with the NSW and Queensland premiers on ensuring agricultural products and essential supplies can flow seamlessly across state borders.
The post about “Australian Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham says states could be forced to pay for lost tourism amid hard borders" first appeared on the Perth Now website.
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