THE federal government will continue to roll out a relief package for travel agents despite a survey showing 90 per cent are unhappy with the support.
South-west Victorian agents told The Standard the $128 million relief package, called the in COVID-19 consumer travel support program, was "flawed" because businesses in similar financial circumstances could receive different amounts based on how their accounting was done in 2019.
But federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan said only five per cent of travel agents who applied for the relief had experienced the accounting issue.
"There is one issue where some people have used total turnover for their accountancy. All the advice I am getting back is that is minimal, that is a very small percentage," Mr Tehan said.
"We have sought to close a loophole that would enable the way more people reported their tax to do that. We are looking at probably less than five per cent (of agents), maybe lower."
At least two south-west travel agents have said they were eligible for far less support than agents of similar sizes due to differing accounting methods they claim were "totally legal".
A Small Business Australia survey of 750 agents nationally found 90 per cent were "dissatisfied with the federal government's travel support fund".
It also found that 95 per cent of travel agencies had seen declines in revenue of 70 to 90 per cent or more due to COVID-19.
Small Business Australia executive director Bill Lang said travel agents were "possibly the hardest hit small business sector in the country".
"There will need to be an increase in the size of that fund by eight-to-10 times of what it is now," Mr Lang told The Standard.
More than 800 travel agents have already received payments since the federal relief program opened in December and another 1500 are currently being processed.
The payment provides a one-off grant ranging from $1500 up to $100,000.
According to federal government data about 95 businesses have received the lowest amount and 168 businesses the highest amount.
"The roll out is taking place and money is being delivered," Mr Tehan said.
"There is certain elements of it that not everyone in the industry is happy with so we are continuing to watch the roll out very closely and I will continue to keep talking with the sector."
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