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'Who wants to go to Launceston?' Queensland slams Scott Morrison's 'bizarre' discount airfare scheme

‘Who wants to go to Launceston?’ Queensland slams Scott Morrison’s ‘bizarre’ discount airfare scheme – saying holidays within states should be supported tooQueensland says half-price fares should also be available for intrastate travellers$1.2b package…

'Who wants to go to Launceston?' Queensland slams Scott Morrison's 'bizarre' discount airfare scheme - saying holidays within states should be supported too

  • Queensland says half-price fares should also be available for intrastate travellers
  • £1.2b package will halve the cost of 800,000 return flights to dozen destinations
  • Treasurer disappointed package doesn't support people travelling their states
  • He said federal government had not consulted the state about the plan at all 

By Australian Associated Press

Published: 22:32, 10 March 2021 | Updated: 05:21, 11 March 2021

Queensland says the federal government's plan to slash airline fares to regional tourism destinations should also be available for intrastate holidaymakers.

The Morrison government has unveiled a £1.2billion tourism and aviation package that will halve the cost of about 800,000 return flights to a dozen tourism destinations across Australia.

The locations in Queensland include Cairns, the Gold Coast, Proserpine and Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays and the Sunshine Coast.

Queensland says the federal government's plan to slash airline fares to regional tourism destinations (Hamilton Island pictured) should also be available for intrastate holidaymakers

Queensland says the federal government's plan to slash airline fares to regional tourism destinations (Hamilton Island pictured) should also be available for intrastate holidaymakers

Treasurer Cameron Dick said Queenslanders would rather travel within their state than go to places like Launceston (pictured) in Tasmania

Treasurer Cameron Dick said Queenslanders would rather travel within their state than go to places like Launceston (pictured) in Tasmania

Treasurer Cameron Dick is pleased more interstate visitors will come to his state but he's disappointed the package doesn't support people travelling their states.

Queensland is a vast state and there's almost 1,700km between Cairns, where tourism is struggling, and the populous southeast which is 19 hours away by road.

'There are some dead-set head-scratchers in this that seem bizarre - like why can't Queenslanders be supported to travel to Queensland, why can't they go to Cairns,' Mr Dick told ABC radio on Thursday.

'Queenslanders want to back Queensland, that's why our economy is coming back and leading the pack nationally.

'People want to go, in Brisbane and in the southeast, they want to go to Cairns but this scheme says no.

Instead, we have to go to places like Launceston, or Merimbula.'

The treasurer said the federal government had not consulted the state about the plan at all and he had 'a theory' about why it chose some regional areas but not others.

Queensland is a vast state and there's almost 1,700km between Cairns (pictured), where tourism is struggling, and the populous southeast which is 19 hours away by road

Queensland is a vast state and there's almost 1,700km between Cairns (pictured), where tourism is struggling, and the populous southeast which is 19 hours away by road

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday the 'aggressive' campaign would woo southerners to Cairns, the Whitsundays, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday the 'aggressive' campaign would woo southerners to Cairns, the Whitsundays, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast

He noted the NSW coastal town of Merimbula was in the Labor-held federal seat of Eden-Monaro while Launceston was in the Liberal-held Bass - both marginal electorates.

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The state government's own programs offering £200 tourism experience vouchers for Queenslanders and £150 to students to visit the Great Barrier Reef are incompatible with the new federal travel scheme.

However, the Morrison government's plan does complement Queensland's upcoming tourism marketing blitz in the southern states.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday the 'aggressive' campaign would woo southerners to Cairns, the Whitsundays, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

All are now are set to benefit from half-price flights under the federal program.

However, Mr Dick warned the state government could not guarantee its borders would remain open indefinitely to support the federal scheme.

'No, we will act on the health advice ... that's been consistent the position we've taken all along and of course that was endorsed by the people of Queensland in the election last October,' he added.

Mr Dick noted the NSW coastal town of Merimbula was in the Labor-held federal seat of Eden-Monaro while Launceston was in the Liberal-held Bass - both marginal electorates

Mr Dick noted the NSW coastal town of Merimbula was in the Labor-held federal seat of Eden-Monaro while Launceston was in the Liberal-held Bass - both marginal electorates