TOURISM INDUSTRY’S LARGEST EMPLOYERS NEED URGENT SUPPORT

By EEAA, 31 March, 2020


The fortnightly wage subsidy of $1500 per person announced by the Federal Government today would help to save the jobs of the thousands of Australians employed in tourism, the industry’s peak bodies said today.

The industry represented by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), the Accommodation Association (AA), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) the Restaurant and Catering Australia (RCA) and the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) welcomed the subsidy saying importantly it was also available to large businesses who between them employed tens of thousands of Australians.

“This subsidy couldn’t have come soon enough and will help to save thousands more tourism employees from being stood down and being forced to join the unemployment queues,” the peak bodies said.

The announcement came following renewed calls from the tourism industry for a multi-billion-dollar package to save the country’s massive visitor economy.

The groups said that the hotels and restaurants, cruise, business events, aviation and the arts and cultural sectors are haemorrhaging billions of dollars per month as the tourism industry faces one of its biggest crises.

“The tourism industry is losing almost $9 billion every month that the global pandemic continues and is forecasting job losses of well over 300,000 so we are calling on Government to recognise the urgency of providing these employers with sector-specific financial assistance,” the group said.

“We acknowledge all of the steps taken by the Federal and State and Territory Governments are entirely necessary to ensure the health and wellbeing of Australians, but we are now at a point where our industry and its people are in the fight for survival. For many businesses, revenues have dropped to zero.”

The peak bodies sent a second letter to the Prime Minister last Friday making a strong case for the tourism industry’s bigger businesses to be front and centre of any new economic lifeline package describing them as providing the scaffolding for the tourism sector and for business events.

Key asks for larger businesses from the letter are as follows:

  • The investment incentives announced as part of the first stimulus package should be extended to all companies. This includes the expanded instant asset write-off and the accelerated depreciation investment incentive.
  • Monthly company tax instalments should be moved to quarterly instalments for a temporary period as they were during the GFC to provide some cash flow assistance.
  • Federal Government backed corporate guarantees to enable businesses to secure funding from financiers to ensure they can survive the crisis.
  • The provision of rent abatements for all tourism businesses to help businesses survive while either closed or only offering limited service (e.g. takeaway), for the remainder of the year by implementing economic incentives for landlords to do this, and
  • Major utilities relief in the form of a $100 million tourism, hospitality, accommodation and business events energy support package to minimise the cost impost of utilities on our sector.

The peak groups said the sector will be critical to the Australian economy as it manages through the current survival phase and later into the eventual economic recovery phase.

“In order for our businesses to play their essential role in any recovery, they need to still be operating. To be operating we need urgent Federal and State and Territory Government support.

“These sensible reforms will help to ensure the nation’s essential visitor economy can survive the current crisis and come out the other side a stronger and more resilient industry.”

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Source: BECA