'Doing it tough': Josh Frydenberg hints at federal support for aviation and tourism after Qantas says more jobs are at risk

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has hinted at further federal support for the aviation industry after the JobKeeper program expires.
  • “We recognise that some sectors and regions are doing it tough,” Frydenberg told “News Breakfast”.
  • Frydenberg also faced questions regarding Attorney-General Christian Porter, who yesterday denied a historical rape allegation laid against him.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Australia’s hard-hit aviation industry may be subject to further government support, but it is the private sector which will clear the sector for takeoff, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says.

Fronting ABC’s “News Breakfast” Thursday morning, Frydenberg was pressed on Qantas’ new claim that further job cuts may be required in 2021, on top of the 8,500 already sanctioned by the carrier.

Qantas, which last week posted a $1.08 billion half-year loss, is just one of many Australian firms rattled by international travel bans and domestic border closures sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peak tourism bodies, and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, have called for the Federal Government to extend its JobKeeper wage subsidy past the end of March or create a new funding package tailored to the industry.

Frydenberg today hinted further measures are in the works.

“We are working through particular initiatives in that respect and with respect to the aviation sector that you just referred to,” Frydenberg told host Lisa Millar.

“We recognise that some sectors and regions are doing it tough.”

His statement comes before Thursday’s Destination Australia conference, and The Australian reports Tourism Minister Dan Tehan will address federal support in his tourism revitalisation plan.

But Australia’s promising GDP growth for the December quarter indicates the economic recovery is underway, Frydenberg said, meaning households are likely to boost their tourism spend – and take the load off the Federal Government.

“It’s the private sector, whether it’s dwelling investment, business investment, or household consumption that is driving this economic recovery,” Frydenberg said.

“Australia has out-performed every other major advanced economy in the world.

“That is a source of great pride for 25 million Australians, because it’s been the work of 25 million Australians that has contributed to this result.”

Porter allegation a matter for police, Frydenberg says

Frydenberg’s economic shop-talk came after direct questions regarding Attorney-General Christian Porter, who yesterday revealed himself as the Cabinet minister accused of raping a girl in 1988. Porter categorically denied the allegation.

Frydenberg said it was not up to him to pass judgment on the allegation against his colleague.

“It’s up to the police to ascertain the veracity of the facts in that particular case,” Frydenberg said.

“The police are the only body, Lisa, who are authorised to deal with such serious criminal matters and, in the case of the New South Wales Police, they have spoken, they have said that the matter is closed.”

In a statement, NSW Police said its investigation, which it started in February last year and suspended in June after the alleged victim took her own life, was closed due to “insufficient admissible evidence”.

The woman’s lawyer, Michael Bradley, told “Today” the choice to convene an independent inquiry into the allegation is now in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s hands.

“The police deal with the criminal question, the criminal justice question,” Bradley said.

“It’s quite normal and conventional to have parallel processes.”

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