Today’s announcement by the Andrews Government of a $3 billion relief package for businesses across Victoria provides tourism operators with a glimmer of hope they can survive, according to the industry’s peak body, the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC).
VTIC CEO Felicia Mariani said: “The industry welcomes the announcement today by the Treasurer, Tim Pallas, and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula, of the $3 billion business relief package. This is what the industry needed to hear after the devastating news of the extension of Stage 4 restrictions.
“The news last Sunday gutted our industry and operators across the state had lost all hope that they could survive to the end of this year. This news means they have a small lifeline to survival that will help them to hang on. We now need to see how we can expedite the Reopening Roadmap to get operators back in business.”
The $3 billion relief package will see an extension to a third round of the Business Support Fund. It will include $820 million in grants of between $10,000 and $20,000 for eligible businesses (depending on the size of payroll), extend payroll tax relief, and create a dedicated package for licensed venues in the hospitality sector, with grants from $10,000-$30,000 based on patron caps.
“These relief packages will target the industries most affected by lockdown restrictions, and we know the tourism and events industry was the first to be impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic and we will be the last to recover from its impacts,” said Ms Mariani.
“We are also incredibly pleased to see that our push for consideration of sole traders has been heard and the Victorian Government is looking to announce a package in the coming week to support this segment of our industry.”
The tourism industry is comprised primarily of SMEs and micro-businesses who are sole traders. This segment has largely been left out in the cold up to this point, as they have been ineligible for any relief or grant support.
“VTIC congratulates the Andrews Government on theses incredibly important relief measures. We now look forward to working with government on devising a Reopening Roadmap that can ensure the industry reactivates safely and as quickly as possible.
“Our operators just want to get back to welcoming guests in their businesses. Relief packages are critical to survival, but a reasonable plan to reopen is what’s needed for long term sustainability,” concluded Ms Mariani.