TTF: Working holiday makers contribute to Aussie economy

WORKING holiday makers spend an average $13,000 during their eight-month stay in Australia which, the Tourism and Transport Forum says is good for the Australian economy and businesses.

TTF chief Ken Morrison said the figure dispelled suggestions they took jobs from young Australians.

He said, rather, working holiday makers added to demand for goods and services and created business opportunities across Australia.

Mr Morrison said they delivered job opportunities in both cities and regional areas.

His comments come after the Australian Council of Trade Unions suggested the Federal Government should re-think the working holiday visa program and review moves to sign working holiday agreements with new countries in light of youth unemployment figures.

"Indeed, at 4.2%, the youth unemployment to population rate remains at historic lows," Mr Morrison said.

"Claims that youth unemployment is rising are simply incorrect and ignore the long-term improvements in education participation by young Australians.

"Closing Australia off from the economic and cultural benefits of international tourism is not the answer.

"Australia should instead be looking to create economic opportunities and grow employment through greater openness and flexibility.

"TTF believes a longer-term view is essential, as the working holiday maker visa scheme is the first step in what can become a lifelong engagement with Australia.

"Working holiday makers get to know our country during a formative part of their lives and they come back in later life with fond memories of Australia and the time they spent here."

Mr Morrison said he could see the great potential in expanding the working holiday maker scheme to other countries aligned with Australia's broader international engagement.

He said TTF was urging the federal government to work towards lifting the cap on working holiday maker numbers from key markets in Asia, like Malaysia and Indonesia.

"We would also like to see the scheme extended to countries Australia is targeting with our tourism marketing, like China and India, giving young people from those countries the opportunity to get to know Australia intimately and form those valuable, lasting relationships that are so beneficial to our economy," he said.

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