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NEWS DESK Proudly published by Mornington Peninsula News Group Pty. Ltd

PHONE: 03 5974 9000 Published weekly

Circulation: 19,870

Audit period: Oct 2018 - Mar 2019

Source: AMAA; CAB Total Distribution Audit for further information visit auditedmedia.org.au

Journalists: Stephen Taylor, Brodie Cowburn 5974 9000 Photographers: Gary Sissons, Yanni Advertising Sales: Bruce Stewart 0409 428 171 Real Estate Account Manager: Jason Richardson 0421 190 318 Production/Graphic design: Marcus Pettifer, Dannielle Espagne Group Editor: Keith Platt 0439 394 707 Publisher: Cameron McCullough REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS: Craig MacKenzie, Peter McCullough, Stuart

McCullough, Ben Triandafillou

ADDRESS: Mornington Peninsula News Group PO Box 588 Hastings 3915 Email: team@mpnews.com.au Web: mpnews.com.au DEADLINE FOR NEXT ISSUE: 1PM ON THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER 2020 NEXT ISSUE PUBLICATION DATE: TUESDAY 6 OCTOBER 2020

An independent voice for the community We are the only locally owned and operated community newspaper on the Mornington Peninsula. We are dedicated to the belief that a strong community newspaper is essential to a strong community. We exist to serve residents, community groups and businesses and ask for their support in return.

Agents zoom in to press their case Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au MORNINGTON Peninsula travel agents held a zoom meeting with Flinders MP Greg Hunt last week to discuss their struggles under the pandemic and to seek tailored financial support. The “gathering of the troops” was arranged by Mornington Travel principal Lee Midson, Thursday 24 September. The 30 agents – all members of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents – are seeking federal and state government support for a $125 million travel agent support package “given the travel downturn and refund backlog”. They briefed Mr Hunt on the “critical” need for financial aid for their businesses, which “are all locally owned and all employing local people”. “Retail travel agencies like mine are overwhelmingly small businesses,” Ms Midson said. “The majority handle international travel services which can account for 75-95 per cent of gross sales.” While all the agents are on JobKeeper, and thankful for any stimulus for jobs, Ms Midson said they were all “working harder than ever”. “It’s critical that we stay open [because] it can take longer to cancel and try to obtain refunds for our clients on flights, cruises and in hotels than it was to make the original bookings,” she said. “Agents have to be on the case every day… there’s hours of constant moni-

Attention Schools, sporting clubs & community groups

Free advertising listings Each month the Mornington News will run a Community Events page, where your school or organisation can promote upcoming events, fund raisers, social events, etc. at no charge. This page is sponsored by the Mornington Village Shopping Centre and listings are completely free. Listings should be about 40 words and include event name, date, time & address.

Fellow travellers: Mornington Travel’s Lee Midson says agents are “all trying to navigate their way through a challenging situation”. Picture: Yanni

toring [yet] we are unable to generate income due to the travel restrictions and domestic and international border closures.” The agents told Mr Hunt federal government support was “essential” to help them help their customers into 2021. “Mr Hunt got it,” said Ms Midson, who has lived on the peninsula for 30 years. “He understood where we were coming from and urged us to continue actively pushing the importance of our sector. While he said he can't promise anything he’s on the expenditure re-

view committee and that will help.” The agents expect the first international borders to open will likely be New Zealand and the Pacific region. The uncertainty is causing problems: “Without a known date it’s impossible for agents to make future bookings,” Ms Midson said. This is preventing their earning commissions on sales. “We need our domestic borders to be open so that, hopefully, future demand for domestic travel can help kick start a recovery in the travel and tourism industry.”

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Mornington News

29 September 2020

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Mornington News 29 September 2020  

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Mornington News 29 September 2020

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