Minister confident ahead of COVID restrictions

VISIT: Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham was in Whyalla earlier this week.
VISIT: Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham was in Whyalla earlier this week.

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham is confident in South Australia's ability to maintain a steady tourism market as COVID-19 restrictions are re-tightened.

Currently only essential workers are able to travel from Victoria to South Australia due to measures put in place by the state government as coronavirus cases soar in Victoria.

Asked whether he was concerned about the restrictions' potential impact on the regional tourism market, Minister Birmingham said 'the message was still clear' for people in SA to travel across the state.

"Where they can they ought to support local businesses because in doing so people are not just going to have an amazing experience but they're potentially also saving a fellow Australian's business," he said.

"In South Australia we have enormous reason for confidence that COVID is under control in this state - yes we still need to be cautious around social distancing but that's no reason to avoid getting out there and travelling.

"I certainly encourage people, not just within SA but where we're open to other states, to get here and see and experience the amazing parts of regional South Australia."

Minister Birmingham met with the Whyalla Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday following the announcement of a new $100m hotel to be built on the Foreshore Motor-Inn site.

The Minister said he had heard 'optimism' about the future from many Whyalla businesses, however there were still challenges around filling labour market vacancies.

Hospitality business have also experienced difficulty in hiring casual staff while attempting to bounce back from the impact of coronavirus, with Minister Birmingham acknowledging there had been concerns raised about the government's JobKeeper program.

"We face the most challenging economic circumstances that the world has seen since WWII...and we need people to support local businesses, to take the jobs that are available to make sure our society comes through this," he said.