Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, via his personal Facebook page, announced (18-Apr-2017) the removal the 457 visa programme for skilled migrants. Mr Turnbull stated the government would replace the programme with a new restricted version which will ensure "foreign workers are brought into Australia in order to fill critical skill gaps and not brought in simply because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go to the trouble of hiring an Australian". As at 30-Sep-2016 there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visas.
Vanuatu Tourism Office launched a AUD255,000 (USD192,684) "Wake Up In Vanuatu" consumer marketing campaign in New South Wales and Queensland, in an attempt to reach travellers in Sydney and Brisbane who have access to nonstop services to Vanuatu (Travel Monitor, 19-Apr-2017). The campaign is expected to run until the end of May-2017.
Alliance Aviation Services advised that the contract it currently holds with OZ Minerals will end on 11-Aug-2017 (Australian Aviation, 18-Apr-2017). The contract includes operating services to the organisation’s copper and gold mines at Prominent Hill in South Australia. Alliance Aviation stated that the end of the contract would have no impact on its 2016/17 full year financial results.
Australia's Federal Government indicated that will not change the country’s existing restrictions on cabotage in the domestic airline market (Aviation Week, 18-Apr-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, Qantas advised a parliamentary committee to refrain from allowing international carriers to operate on domestic routes in Australia, citing substantial economic, employment and operational risk. A submission from the Infrastructure and Regional Development Department stated "despite previous proposals to relax cabotage rules in some instances, there would be no benefit in doing so".
Tourism New Zealand announced (18-Apr-2017) plans to target travel agents in the Philippines to boost tourism to New Zealand. Tourism New Zealand regional manager, South and South East Asia Steven Dixon stated: "We have delivered training to over 350 travel agents in the Philippines over the past year, it’s an important way of bringing the local industry up to speed on how to sell New Zealand holidays". 21,152 people from the Philippines visited New Zealand in the year ending Feb-2017, a 44.8% increase on the previous year. [more - original PR]
Gladstone Council is committed to improve Gladstone Airport's access roads by 2031 (The Observer, 17-Apr-2017). The council has yet to draw out a project timeline or estimated cost, but plans to link Penda Ave/Dawson Hwy roundabout by extending Shaw St to Olsen Ave.
Timaru Richard Pearse Airport completed (18-Apr-2017) the first stage of its NZD1.3 million (USD911,306) upgrade project, featuring a fully sealed car park, additional parking capacity and dedicated pick up/drop off bays to improve safety. As previously reported by CAPA, the NZD575,000 (USD388,100) project was conducted by Fulton Hogan. The airport will implement a NZD5 (USD3.50) daily parking surcharge from late Aug-2017. The following phase will work on terminal upgrades and expansion. [more - original PR]
Australia's Federal Government spent a total of AUD427 million (USD324 million) on travel and accommodation in 2016, an increase of AUD50 million (USD37.9 million) over the 2013/2014 financial year (Canberra Times, 18-Apr-2017). This equates to more than AUD2700 (USD2049) for each of the 155,000 public servants.
Auckland Airport celebrated reaching NZD1 million (USD701,392) in Alipay transactions since the service launched in Oct-2016 (NZ Herald, 17-Apr-2017). China is the airport's second largest visitor market. Airport GM Jason Delamore stated: "The Alipay partnership also opens up opportunities to communicate with potential travellers from China before they come to New Zealand and with Chinese visitors while they're travelling here".
Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) invoked legislation which does not require the bureau to release material about its search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (The Australian, 17-Apr-2017). ATSB GM for strategic capability Colin McNamara claimed the release could "cause damage the international relations of the commonwealth". The ATSB warned that any bureau employee who provides such information to the public or a court could face two years in jail.