More government support needed as report reveals coronavirus hit to Cairns

The Liberal National Party is calling on the Palaszczuk Government to abandon its $200 million bid to buy a stake in Virgin Australia and spend the money on tourism marketing instead.

And a 58% majority of Tropic Now readers surveyed over the weekend agree with them.

Queensland treasurer Cameron Dick last week confirmed the government was considering a $200 million investment in the embattled airline after the company was put into administration in April with more than 10,000 creditors together owed more than $6.8 billion.

But LNP candidate for Cairns Sam Marino has backed calls by Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington to invest that money in a tourism marketing war chest.

“We need to supercharge local destination marketing plans for Cairns to get the tourism industry firing on all cylinders and to get ahead of the other states," he said.

“Critical to our economic recovery will be re-establishment of domestic aviation capacity, connectivity into Cairns and destination marketing.”

The party has refused to comment on whether the $200 million marketing pledge would become an election commitment - due to be held on October 31.


LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the private sector was best placed to invest in Virgin, with a second domestic carrier crucial to "keeping prices low for consumers and connecting regional communities".

A Tropic Now Facebook page poll, which received 499 votes in 48 hours, backed the LNP's stance.

58% of respondents said the $200 million investment should be spent on tourism marketing, while 42% supported Labor's bid to take a stake in Virgin.

In the absence of international visitors for the forseeable future, Mrs Frecklington said Queensland needed to get on the front foot to become the "destination of choice for all Australians and New Zealanders."

“A $200 million tourism marketing fighting fund will get tourism businesses back on their feet and protect local jobs across the state.

“Sadly, Queensland’s tourism industry was struggling before coronavirus with the lowest growth in visitor numbers and visitor spends in mainland Australia in the last year.

“People are beginning to plan their post-coronavirus holidays now and those holidays must be in Queensland.”