QTIC Summary of the 2022-23 Federal Budget
Posted on March 30th, 2022
Workforce and skills support
Measures to improve workforce shortages and skills training
With unemployment so low and businesses grappling with a tight labour market, the federal government has introduced a new $2.8 billion investment to support apprenticeships. New apprentices in priority occupations will be eligible for up to $5,000 in payments ($1,250 every six months for two years), while employers who take them on may receive up to $15,000 in wage subsidies.
The $2.7 million wage subsidy program, Boosting Apprenticeships Commencement Program, will be retained. This places up to $28,000 per year into the pockets of businesses that employ apprentices. The reboot adds an additional 35,000 apprentices.
$3.7 billion is also being committed to deliver the National Skills reform, which will fund 800,000 new training places.
Small businesses are also being incentivised to train staff, with operators receiving a $120 tax deduction for every $100 spent on external training delivered to employees in Australia either online or by providers registered in Australia.
Boosting Working Holiday Makers and skilled migration
To help the Australian tourism and hospitality sector address workforce shortages, the Coalition will boost the number of Working Holiday Makers (WHM) through a one-off 30% increase across all country caps in 2022/23. This move will generate 11,000 additional WHM visas available for prospective backpackers.
The Federal Government will focus on skilled migration with the Migration Program, with an aim of returning to a pre-pandemic composition of roughly two-thirds/one-third across the Skill and Family streams.
The Skill stream will increase to 109,900, which is more than 30,000 places above 2021-22 planning levels. Within this Skill stream, the categories of Employer Sponsored (30,000 places); Skilled Independent (16,652 places); and State and Territory Nominated (20,000 places) have all been increased from the previous financial year planning levels.
Regional visas will more than double to 25,000 places in a bid to support growth in regional Australia.
Tourism sector support
A new national tourism and visitor economy strategy, termed THRIVE 2030, has been introduced to develop the long-term growth of Australia’s visitor economy.
The THRIVE 2030 strategy is expected to grow the value of our nation’s visitor economy to $230 billion per annum by 2030, initially returning to $166 billion by 2024.
The Coalition has outlined $146.5 million in new tourism support measures in the Budget, which we outline below.
Attracting international visitors to Australian shores
To accelerate the recovery for key tourism destinations with a strong international focus, $60 million has been allocated over two years in marketing support.
International travellers will be incentivised to visit North Queensland, with $15 million allocated to Tourism Tropical North Queensland to promote the region and the Great Barrier Reef in an effort to reboot the tourism-dependent region.
The additional $45 million from the Budget has been earmarked for Tourism Australia to undertake targeted activities to get international tourists back into key regional destinations heavily impacted by the loss of global tourism. From this funding, $15 million will be allocated to advertising aimed at critical international markets. $25 million will be spent on direct partnership activities for Tourism Australia to work with trade wholesalers, airlines and media outlets to drive international demand for Australian destinations. The remaining $5 million will be utilised to extend Business Events Australia’s highly successful bid fund.
Improve long-term planning for the tourism sector
The Coalition has allocated $6.8 million in funding to implement the THRIVE 2030 long-term strategy for tourism recovery. Of this sum, $4.8 million has been assigned as additional funding for Tourism Research Australia to capture and analyse more tourism and visitor data sources. This will help businesses operating in the visitor economy to make improved business decisions. The remining $2 million will be spent over 2 years to develop an industry-led visitor economy online employment and skills platform.
Greater support for travel agents
Earlier this month, the Coalition announced that it would provide $75.5 million in targeted support for travel agents and tour arrangement service providers. The multimillion dollar grants program will support agents in meeting their ongoing running costs. The funding will also assist tour providers in supporting consumers rebooking their travel using existing COVID-related travel credits. Details on eligibility requirements can be found here.
Investing in Indigenous tourism
Indigenous Tourism Fund
Announced in 2021, the federal government’s promised $40 million Indigenous Tourism Fund will become operational during this budget cycle. The fund is intended to stimulate growth in Indigenous business formation and create more opportunities for First Nations tourism products and experiences.
The program is led by a group of highly qualified and experienced Indigenous leaders who form the National Indigenous Tourism Advisory Group (NITAG), chaired by Professor Deen Sanders OAM. Also a member of the NITAG is our very own Rhonda Appo, QTIC’s Indigenous Program Manager.
Expanding the Indigenous ranger program
The federal government will spend $636 million over 6 years to expand the Indigenous ranger program, by creating an estimated additional 2,000 Indigenous ranger jobs by 2028 in remote and regional parts of Australia.
The new funding will also encourage more Indigenous women to begin working as rangers on land and sea country.
Environmental improvement initiatives
Benefits for the Great Barrier Reef
With the Great Barrier Reef contributing billions to our visitor economy, last night’s Budget committed $12.4 million in support to Queensland tourism operators. The multimillion dollar package will take the form of environmental management charges and other permit-related fees being waived.
It was announced earlier in the year that the Budget will include $1 billion for Great Barrier Reef protection initiatives. Spent over nine years, the majority of this funding will go towards improving water quality, with the rest set aside for marine science research and reef managements.