State border closures ‘a joke’ as regional tourism body calls for effective leadership

The State and Territory Governments refusal to successfully collaborate on a coordinated response to restrictions is crippling the regional tourism sector and stifling any chance of recovery for many small business owners, according to Australian Regional Tourism.

Australian Regional Tourism Chair Coralie Bell has called for greater leadership in developing a national strategy to help rebuild the industry.

“Small business remains at the front line of this ongoing debacle,” she said.

“The opening and closing of state borders and the state-based approach to restrictions is a joke.

“Enough is enough. Cities are empty. Any business that is located more than three hours from a major city is empty. If you’re on a border town – heaven help you, you are the forgotten people.”

Bell called out the current piecemeal approaches by states and territories over border issues.

“This is not about health and safety,” she said. “Everybody knows health should come first. This is about leadership of a country and an ability for states and territories to put aside egos and work across borders for the greater good of Australian citizens and business, it’s an embarrassment.

“If we can’t even get our own backyards straight, how are we ever to return to a place where international visitors feel confident to travel. We should be ashamed.”