Today’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison of the resources being developed to support the reanimation of the nation’s visitor economy will provide welcome relief to the tourism, events and hospitality sector in Victoria, according to the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC).
The Federal Government outlined a range of support materials and toolkits available via Safe Work Australia that will aid businesses in navigating requirements to establish ‘COVIDSafe’ workplaces as restrictions are eased and businesses look to reconnect with their staff and customers.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “It’s relieving to see that the Morrison Government is taking steps that will support the reactivation of the nation’s tourism industry, a sector that by all indicators has been one of the worst hit under the weight of the current restrictions.
“There have been over 708,000 jobs lost since restrictions were implemented in mid-March, and 441,000 of those jobs have been in the Hospitality, Accommodation and Food Services area; with a further 146,000 in the Retail sector. The PM has rightfully acknowledged that the services sector has been decimated in the current shutdown and the implications to the supply chain down the line have been subsequently impacted also.
“The resources that are being made available via the Safe Work Australia website will be vital in supporting our industry to understand obligations in reactivating their businesses with regard to social distancing requirements, hygiene, cleaning and use of personal protection equipment.
“This has been the primary concern for our sector in wanting to be crystal clear on new operating requirements as they look to reengage with their staff and customers,” Ms Mariani said.
At the state level today, the announcement by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas of a further $491 million to provide relief in the form of exemptions from payroll tax and WorkCover premiums on JobKeeper payments, is yet another lifeline for small businesses in the state’s hard-hit tourism sector.
“Our industry has found the Federal JobKeeper funding challenging at times given the associated on-costs, with payroll tax on these fortnightly payments having left many questioning how they can afford to maintain this benefit.
“Today’s announcement by the Treasurer that the $1500 fortnightly JobKeeper payment is now free from all State Government taxes and charges means that more money can stay in the pockets of businesses. This is crucial to their survival and allows them to focus on this next phase of business reanimation.
“The numbers released today reinforce that the sectors making up the nation’s visitor economy have truly been hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. The ongoing support provided by both our Federal and State Governments will go a long way in supporting our vital industry to survive, revive, and to once again thrive,” Ms Mariani concluded.