A $1.2 billion federal stimulus package for the tourism industry is “pathetic”, according to Western Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his tourism minister, Dan Tehan, on Thursday announced 800,000 half-price plane tickets to an initial 13 destinations.
The only WA city included is Broome.
The state’s border was closed to much of the country for most of last year, with WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia boasting regional towns were so full of local tourists they would not have been able to also host eastern visitors.
He says the federal government did not consult WA businesses on the new package.
“This program is pathetic, it doesn’t focus on Western Australian business that are hurting as a result of international flights,” he told 6PR radio, two days out from the WA election.
“If Mr Tehan and the prime minister want to help Western Australia they should talk to people who know about Western Australia. They are obviously not doing that.”
While operators in Broome are pleased, Tourism Council WA boss Evan Hall said other destinations like Busselton and Perth would lose visitors to holiday spots interstate.
Mr Hall said one in five tourism operators risked closing their doors when JobKeeper, rent freezes and loan deferrals ended in March.
The government has also listed the Gold Coast, Cairns, the Whitsundays and Mackay region including Proserpine and Hamilton Island and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Lasseter and Alice Springs in the NT, the Tasmanian towns of Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, Avalon near Melbourne, Merimbula in NSW and SA’s Kangaroo Island are also included.
Return flights to eligible locations will receive a 50 per cent discount between April 1 and July 31.
Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese says the government has chosen locations politically, based on electorates.
Broome is within Durack, an expansive electorate held by the Liberals’ Melissa Price.
Mr Morrison has described the package as a “ticket to recovery”.