We are all in on it together: Tourism Australia still holidaying at our expense

Some time ago I wrote a post about the risibility of taxpayers funding the services of Tourism Australia given the tourism industry wasn’t willing to fund it themselves.

I discussed the absurdity of their high rates of pay and lack of genuine accountability / KPI’s, deliberately confusing general industry trends and metrics with TA activity and performance, not to mention their superb efforts in tackling diversity and climate change.

Tourism Australia as you might recall, costs $170m+ (which granted is chump change) a year of mostly taxpayer money and according to its website, “is the Australian Government agency responsible for attracting international visitors to Australia [my emphasis]”

Given that the Federal Government has closed the borders and more or less shut down international tourism indefinitely, the 215 TA staff who on average earn over $150k, and the executive management team who on average each take home over $450k (comparable to POTUS salary I might add) in employee benefits, have literally nothing to work on. Zero.

This begs the question: why are Tourism Australia employees (doing nothing) not made redundant or at the very least put on JobKeeper like everyone else?

Hundreds of thousands of Australians have lost their jobs in areas of the economy dependent on international travel but not the federal travel bureaucrats. With literally nothing to work on they continue to draw on their obscenely bloated salaries. Why?

Tourism Australia is a perfect example of the arrogance and indifference the governing classes treat the rest of Australia. It is ridiculous to keep funding Tourism Australia as though nothing has happened. Without a vaccine or treatment international tourism will likely remain shut down (or heavily restricted) for years.

I would like to think it is an isolated example but I suspect Tourism Australia is simply the canary in the coal mine. My suspicion is that their are tens of thousands of public servants doing very little in the current environment but remain on full pay. That few notice their absence says volumes about their value add. How many other agencies, departments (either in whole or part) should be made redundant or streamlined in response to changing circumstances?

Apparently “we are are all in this together” but what the case of Tourism Australia demonstrates is that some are a lot more in it than others.  “We are all in on it together” would seem more apt when it comes to the governing classes.

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15 Responses to We are all in on it together: Tourism Australia still holidaying at our expense

  1. mundi

    Government revenue would have to drop over 50% to be eligible for jobkeeper.

    What the government can do, and this is very clear under FWA rules, is stand down ask the employees without pay, if this martial disaster has no work for them to do.

    They would be eligible for JobSeeker, and be free to quit their job and seek a replacement.

    They would not be entitled to redundancy until the disaster is over

    That is what is happening in the private sector.

  2. Hay Stockard

    Yep. The enormity of the hypocracy is eye watering.

  3. nfw

    C’mon Scotty Chamberlain Morrison will tell you they have never worked harder in their lives as they are now and they just need to be paid, unlike the people who actually invest in the country and create the wealth. They will be busy making plans, writing policy and position papers, having focus groups, catching up on their equity and diversity training, touching base with the employees overseas and their opposite numbers, etc, etc. In fact they are probably writing job ads for the extra staff they will need to handle the work after this stupidity is over.

  4. rickw

    $450k would be above country manager level for most corporations with a branch in Australia.

    Who the hell does the assessment of salary levels? Are they benchmarking Government entities against each other or some similar absurdity?

  5. sfw

    To get any sort of business assistance you need to have a 30% drop in revenue. So I guess that anything less than that is not significant. I therefore propose that all the pollies and public servants take a 25% pay cut for the duration, it can’t hurt them too much as a 25% drop in revenue isn’t enough to hurt a business.

  6. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    “Paying” them jobkeeper would not make a shred of difference to the budget bottom line. They’re all tax hoovers, FFS.

  7. But the PM told us they were all working as hard as frontline medical staff and Des Desk was outraged at the suggestion any civil servants were not fully employed.

    NFW probably nailed it. I mean they will have to appoint special new posts just to tell the others what they can claim whilst working from home. There are civil servants who don’t have two office chairs at home so the situation is quite dire. Too difficult and dangerous to move one from their office to home.

  8. Exit Stage Right

    Scotty from Marketing is not going to touch or allow anyone else to touch Tourism Australia, his old Department.
    I think nfw is right. When this Bug Business has blown over, Tourism Australia will be looking for more staff because of the anticipated surge in people wanting to travel. At lease we know surplus staff at the moment are not down at the pub.

  9. Harlequin Decline

    Agree 100%, absolutely outrageous that these drones who have fuck all to do at the best of times haven’t been made redundant.

  10. Tim Neilson

    Anyone know whether anyone has been stood down at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority or Airservice Australia?

  11. Squirrel

    Public sector remuneration should (at the very least) be frozen until public sector budgets are balanced, or better still, in the black and paying down debt.

    If things are so bad that we have the lowest interest rates in recorded history (and very unlikely to increase for years), and inflation is so low that central bankers are besides themselves at the prospect of deflation, why the hell do people with very safe jobs and very safe retirement entitlements waiting for them, need to be paid any more than they were before a “once in a century” crisis hit us?

    Beyond that, there should be a root and branch review of all public sector activities. Some may have been looked at closely in the recent past but, as we are told, these are “unprecedented times” and everything should be on the table.

    If we are to have any hope of competing in a world economy which will be even meaner and more ruthless than in the past, we simply cannot afford to carry a public sector with pre-virus entitlements and expectations.

  12. And everyone is too scared batshitless to use public transport and still the buses race after one another down Grenfell Street like herds of rutting deer with an average number of passengers per bus of less than one!!

  13. gafa

    But the PM told us they were all working as hard as frontline medical staff
    Maybe that was a Freudian slip. 7500 Ventilators, 20 being used, yep overwhelming hard work!

  14. Petros

    Greece got rid of it’s national tourism organization, the GNTO, years ago. The growth in tourism to Greece continued. Funny that. Pretty sure the same thing would happen here. Like Greece, Australia is on many people’s bucket list and we don’t need to promote it. Steve Irwin probably did more for our tourism than Tourism Australia did.

  15. Nob

    National Tourism authorities are completely redundant in the age of the internet and social media anyway.

    They make stupid ads that try to appeal to locals instead of prospective visitors.

    Shut it down, fire them all, etc.

    Find out why prices in pubs and restaurants are so high, simplify legislation and employment rules and FFS allow some decent budget private and chain hotels.

    To name just a few things that put visitors off and make locals wanna go overseas for simple holidays.

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