The federal government is ramping up pressure on the states to open their borders, releasing new modelling showing $55 billion could be wiped from Australia’s tourism industry.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said inconsistent and disproportionate approaches to border restrictions were costing jobs across the country.
He pointed to modelling from Tourism Research Australia, which predicted spending on domestic tourism could fall by at least $23 billion this financial year.
The modelling also found ongoing international border restrictions could come with a $31 billion price tag.
Scott Morrison will lobby state and territory leaders to ease border restrictions at a national cabinet meeting on Friday.
The prime minister wants states to adopt a uniform approach to defining coronavirus hotspots, so people can move more freely across the country without jeopardising health outcomes.
Senator Birmingham said airlines, airports, hotels and tour operators relied on people doing more than take a short self-drive holiday.
“We risk more job losses in these sectors if borders remain shut any longer than is necessary,” he told AAP on Thursday.
“I urge all state and territory leaders to take a sensible and proportionate approach to border restrictions, as getting more Australians travelling interstate will help save tourism businesses and jobs.
“Getting Australians travelling across parts of our country that have successfully suppressed the spread of COVID-19 will be critical to getting elements of our tourism industry back on its feet.”