The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is calling on the State and Federal Government to immediately agree to elements of the hibernation package included in the Prime Minister’s announcement today regarding escalating elements of Stage 2 restrictions.
The Prime Minister announced an escalation of restrictions that will see incoming travellers from overseas from midnight on Saturday sent into immediate 14-day quarantine in the cities in which they have re-entered the country.
He noted in his address that the Federal Government is working with State and Territory Governments to agree on a hibernation package that will see relief provided to businesses and individuals on rent, mortgages and other commitments that will not be able to be met in the current environment.
VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “This escalation of Stage 2 restrictions brings our industry to a virtual halt and Governments at all levels need to immediately move on any hibernation and other wage support packages.
“While every industry is hurting right now, no industry has been cut off as quickly and as deeply as the tourism, hospitality, events and accommodation sectors. Our industry has been systematically shutdown since the 1st of February and businesses across the state are facing ruin.
“The hibernation package that the PM mentioned today in his press conference will throw a lifeline to sinking businesses across Victoria and spare them the pressure of rents, mortgages and other financial commitments they cannot meet, which will see tourism and hospitality businesses abandoned in droves,” she continued.
VTIC commended the Australian Government and Victorian State Government on their financial packages to date, but said this critical situation requires a further immediate response.
“The issue of wage subsidies must also be urgently enacted. The current Centrelink process is too convoluted, too onerous and money is simply not getting to the rapidly growing number of unemployed people from across our sector and the business community more widely.
“VTIC is calling on all levels of government to rapidly address these issues before this social crisis spirals any further,” Ms Mariani said.