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ATIA Advocacy - October

It’s been a big month in advocacy, with the Senate Select Committee’s swift Inquiry into Bilateral Air Service Agreements both commencing and being finalised since the last newsletter! The Inquiry was called off the back of the Government’s decision to not allow Qatar additional air rights and is a critical first step in reforming a broken system. Dean appeared before the Select Committee to give evidence on the first day of the public hearings, and we submitted a comprehensive submission containing key recommendations for reform. The Select Committee’s report called for the Government to immediately review its decision to not grant Qatar additional air rights, along with nine other recommendations. It was great to see a number of these aligned with recommendations in ATIA’s submission, and our evidence feature in the report. You can read our submission here, and the Select Committee’s report here.

Dean and I are in Canberra last week where we had further discussions with key Ministers and Departments about progressing recommendations in Bilateral Air Services Report, priorities for the Aviation White Paper, as well as skills and training issues. Dean also appeared before the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT)’s Inquiry into Australia’s tourism and international education sectors, giving evidence in support of our submission filed earlier this year.  

The Roundtables for the Aviation Green Paper have also kicked off, and I was pleased to represent ATIA members at the inaugural Roundtable in Melbourne. There were around 50 industry leaders present, and it was great to discuss reform priorities with the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, who are leading the process. These roundtables are an important stage in the process of developing the policy direction for the aviation sector out to 2050.

We will again be representing ATIA at topic-specific roundtables being held by the Department over the next two months, starting with the session on competition, consumer protections and disability access settings, and a visitor economy specific roundtable.

In skills and training news, Jobs and Skills Australia handed down the latest Skills Priority List. Travel Consultants are again recognised as being in shortage nationally. ATIA thanks members, in particular our National Taskforce for Skills and Careers, which helped provide the information needed make sure this occupation stays on this list. The Skills Priority List informs a number of key Government decisions, including around funding for traineeships. We are continuing to engage with SkillsEquipped as they prepare a workforce plan for the travel and tourism sector to be released in the coming month.

During the month the Federal Government also announced an Inquiry into COVID-19 response, to make recommendations to improve measure in the event of future pandemics. We wrote to the Prime Minister calling for an expansion of the terms of reference to include the entire health response across state and territory governments. ATIA will also be including a call in our submission for the review to look at the substantial issues in Austrade’s handling of the distribution of Consumer Travel Support Grant funds of $270 Million.

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