Australia boosted emergency funding for the small scale businesses hit by bushfires on January 20 that has gripped through the country for months. The increasing costs of the disaster doubt the government's ability to deliver a promised budget surplus. Bushfires have reportedly killed 29 people and more than a billion animals, ranging from insects to cattle, kangaroo, and koalas. According to the media outlet, the original figure was around half a billion only from the NSW region which did not include bats, frogs or invertebrates.
Tourism businesses, employees and fire-affected communities around the country will receive much needed support from the Government’s National Bushfire Recovery Fund, through our $76m tourism recovery package. This will help protect jobs, small businesses and local economies. pic.twitter.com/ZortrVnoJ7— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 19, 2020
Most of Australia was choked because of the smoke from bushfires. The intense smoke also choked the southern city of Melbourne and as a result disrupted the build-up to next week's Australian Open tennis tournament. However, the thunderstorms that accompanied the rains late night on Wednesday cleared away the smoke and then moved on towards fires in the southern state of Victoria. Australia expects to lose billions of dollars in the tourism sector as international tourists cancelled their trips due to the raging bushfires that have gripped the country since September, according to the reports on January 17.
The number of tourists planning to visit Australia has fallen sharply 10-20 per cent since the fire began and it is estimated to lose AUS $4.5 billion ($3 billion) this year, as per the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC). The Australian Government has recently decided to pledge $52 million to help revive the tourism industry in the aftermath of the devastating bushfires. A lot of the bushfires were only recently brought under the control after the fires scorched an area which is roughly the size of Germany. Heavy rains in Australia that started this week has greatly helped to dampen the effects of the fire.