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Industry welcomes new federal ministry

written by Hannah Dowling | June 1, 2022

Virgin and Qantas aircraft lined up at BNE (Rob Finlayson)

The aviation sector has welcomed the incoming federal ministry, after it was revealed that the Labor Party had secured enough seats to hold a majority government.

The new ministry was sworn in on Wednesday, after being announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday night.

Catherine King has taken over Barnaby Joyce’s portfolio as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, while Clare O’Neil has been sworn in as Minister for Home Affairs. Don Farrell has taken over from Dan Tehan as Minister for Trade and Tourism.

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) congratulated and welcomed the incoming federal ministry at its annual OPS SWAP Forum on Wednesday.

The association, which will work closely with ministers King and O’Neil, said it looks forward to working with the new government to strengthen the airport industry and address key issues facing the sector in the post-pandemic environment.

AAA chief executive James Goodwin said: “The new ministry will provide an opportunity to refocus the policy and regulatory settings for the airport sector at a crucial time to rebuild and recover from the disruption of the COVID pandemic.

“We welcome the opportunity to share our members’ commitment to their passengers and their local communities and we will continue to engage with the incoming government on key issues facing the sector such as security upgrades, aeronautical infrastructure, and further support for regional and remote airports.”

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Goodwin also thanked outgoing minister for infrastructure and transport Barnaby Joyce and minister for home affairs Karen Andrews for their contribution to the sector.

Meanwhile, the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) announced it is already in conversation with the new Minister for Tourism Don Farrell, as well as Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor, about the next steps for the industry’s recovery.

“Given the economic significance of Australia’s outbound Travel Sector at a national, regional and community level, and the very real challenge of rebuilding despite more than a third of our workforce having left during COVID, AFTA welcomes and appreciates the ongoing support of Senator Farrell and the wider Albanese government,” the industry body said on Wednesday.

“More than a third of our workforce was wiped out as a result of COVID-restrictions and now, at a time when travelling Australians need professional travel advice more than ever, we urgently need to address that skills and workforce shortage,” said AFTA CEO Dean Long

“Senator Farrell has been a long standing champion of Australia’s travel agents and businesses and AFTA is proud to have a longstanding relationship with him and his office.

“Senator Farrell, in a webinar meeting with AFTA members just before the election, committed to continuing to work with us as we recover and we look forward to announcing the date of the promised member webinar with him.

“AFTA is also already in conversation with Minister O’Connor given the importance of aligning skills and training with our sector’s needs.”

Meanwhile, the Transport Workers Union took to Twitter to congratulate Minister King and Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke, stating, “we look forward to working with you both to make transport a safer, fairer industry for all.”

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