Australia's coronavirus-ravaged travel sector will need further help if the trouble-plagued vaccine rollout prolongs the country's hard border closure, a peak industry body says.
New advice on the use AstraZeneca vaccine for under-50s has thrown the vaccination program into disarray and cast doubt over the timeframe of the reopening of Australia's border to the world.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders are due to discuss Australia's borders at Friday's national cabinet.
The tourism industry had been crossing its fingers for a smooth vaccine rollout, hoping it would be spell an end to citywide lockdowns and state border closures, and allow for a gradual resumption of international tourism.
But with Mr Morrison no longer able to guarantee all Australians will have received at least one jab by the end of 2021, the disruptions which have plagued the sector for more than 12 months are set to linger into next year.
Australian Tourism Industry Council executive director Simon Westaway said the federal government would need time to assess exactly what the new AstraZeneca advice meant for the pace of the vaccine rollout, and decisions such as the reopening of the international border.
Mr Westaway said it was "pretty obvious" the rollout would be delayed given the AstraZeneca jab was the main cog in Australia's vaccination program.
He said if the delays prolonged the international travel ban, the sector would need further targeted support.
The Morrison government has already announced a $1.2 billion package to support the aviation and travel sector, which includes underwriting discounts on 800,000 flights to selected destinations.
"Hard border closures have a significant impact on our industry," he said.
"If they continue to be applied because we don't have the country inoculated, our industry will continue to require targeted support."
With broad community vaccine coverage viewed as the best "stopper" against domestic border closures and citywide lockdowns, Mr Westaway said a delayed rollout had the potential to dent consumer confidence in travel.
However, he said this week's announcement of a travel bubble between Australia and NZ - two countries without community spread of COVID-19 but with low rates of inoculation - showed that the vaccine wasn't the only factor in reopening borders to other countries.
Meanwhile, Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus has said that in light of the vaccine delays the Morrison government should reinstate the JobKeeper wage subsidy for business directly affected by the border closure.
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