At the moment it would seem that any ‘update’ is out-of-date almost immediately. Nevertheless, we do want to stay in touch with you all, as colleagues, as members and most importantly as friends.
The one thing we cannot lose, no matter what is thrown at us, is our solidarity with each other. QTIC is more determined than ever to stick to our core values and our core purpose which is to support you.
We understand that the situation you are each facing is dire. Thank you to those of you who have contacted us to let us know about your specific circumstance by phone or email. This helps us shape our responses and advocacy.
The impacts are affecting every business in every region, large and small. It is also having a profound impact on our workforce and the families that are now suffering from the loss of income. Most alarmingly, none of us can predict how long we will be in this current situation or how it will evolve. It would seem clear by now that whatever defence we or the government can throw up: now is the time, don’t keep your powder dry.
Our collective focus must be to keep as many businesses viable and as many staff members as possible employed in some way. We will rely on both to engineer a recovery at some point in the future in what will be very competitive circumstances.
-Daniel Gschwind, Chief Executive
Based on your feedback, QTIC’s advocacy priorities are clear:
Cash support now, for all size businesses in all regions: this can be genuine cost reductions, waivers ie, fees, charges, taxes (potentially even those already remitted) or cash grants.
Grant support for ‘enhancement’, ‘shovel-ready’ projects
Wage subsidies across the board
Local government levies, rates etc
We are also making the point that the current state-of-play resembles a business survival triage situation. Not only are small tourism businesses facing existential threats, large businesses are also pushed to the brink. Some of those are critical to the functioning and recovery of our industry: airlines, major infrastructure providers, distribution systems (online and traditional intermediaries) etc. Government need to engage with and support those critical parts of the industry also, with a long-term view.
We again want to recognise the efforts of the Queensland Government and its agencies for the prompt and collaborative responses for our industry over the last few weeks. It is a stand out across Australia. A summary of current support measures can be found here. QTIC is in daily contact with Minister Jones, DITID, TEQ, DESBT and numerous members of Parliament, speaking up for our operators and working on practical solutions. Much has been put in place already and we are confident that additional measures are on the way. We welcomed the payroll tax relief to date but have put on the agenda that this business burden will have to be lifted further and result in a waiver as opposed to a deferral.
We are in active discussions with the Commonwealth Government, in our own right and also in collaboration through the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC). Our priorities are the same, including in relation to the specific $1 billion industry package announced by Minister Birmingham last week. We are working with the RTOs and the State Government for a consistent Queensland approach. Outside this package we are very persistent with the wage subsidy issue: it will ultimately be a cheaper option for the Commonwealth to help businesses keep staff on rather than paying the Newstart costs later on. New Zealand has implemented a broad wage subsidy scheme.
We have also engaged with the Australian Banking Association to encourage the banks to very openly declare their solidarity with the broader business community and work with individual borrowers to work through the challenges and sustain them.
We welcome all your suggestions and will do our best to keep you posted. It is a fast-moving advocacy environment.
Putting our money where our mouth is
We have urged governments to give businesses a break and show solidarity. QTIC must do the same. The QTIC board has decided that in our own small way we must repay the trust and support that our members have given us for the last 20 years.
For the next financial year, 2020-21, we will discount fees for current members, which would be due by 30 June 2020, by 100%. We are making your membership free.
In addition, in the Year of Indigenous Tourism, we extend free entry level membership now and for 2020-21 to Indigenous tourism businesses in Queensland. Please contact Rhonda Appo, firstname.lastname@example.org
It is only a small gesture that we are able to make but it matters to us to show our solidarity with you. We have accumulated some reserves for a rainy day and now it is pouring.
We are hoping that our corporate partners, the RTOs and the Queensland Government will continue to support us too in our efforts. We will continue to deliver all our services and our engagement with you. Our staff are committed, even if we are starting to work from home as required.
Thank you for your support in the past, we value your commitment to us.
Queensland Tourism Awards
The awards may not be the topic foremost on your mind right now, as some of you struggle for survival. We had some very open discussion with our colleagues in all states and territories about the imminent launch of this year’s awards program. On the one hand, we understand that most businesses are now busy trying to keep afloat, on the other hand, we must retain some sense of a strong future for our industry, keeping in place some of our structures and traditions.
The Queensland Tourism Awards are scheduled to be celebrated in November this year and the Australian Tourism Awards in March 2021 on the Sunshine Coast. By then the industry will be in desperate need to celebrate something, in some way.
We have discussed this also with our supporters, Queensland Airports Limited, Tourism and Event Queensland, the Queensland Government and Qantas and we all share the same view: we keep the plans in place and encourage the industry to engage in a show of determined defiance in the face of adversity. At a national level, we are discussing how we can adjust the submission process to reflect the challenges to businesses, simplifying entry and reducing any costs. We will keep you posted.
The awards process was always about rewarding business excellence and encouraging best practice, including risk management. This current test of resilience is perhaps the best time to recognise the steely professionalism of our operators through an adjusted tourism awards process. We will celebrate our heroes – you!
Please refer to the QTIC website for regular updates about the Queensland Tourism Awards.
All our helplines remain open and we encourage you to take up the opportunity if you need the support. If there is any additional specific support you may need, no matter what, do not hesitate to contact us. We will try to help our members.
General financial advice
QTIC members are now able to seek free-of-charge general financial and business advice to deal with the impact of the CoronaVirus on their operations. A specific email address has been set up for any queries you may have: email@example.com
You do not have to be a Westpac customer to access this service. Any business currently banking with Westpac may find additional services here.
Business and personal distress support
For business owners who find themselves in distress, understanding what the next step is can be confusing or worse still, confronting. In situations like this having a sounding board to discuss critical options is important. As a business coach and strategist with over 30 years tourism experience and a mental health first aider and counsellor, Kayleen is well-positioned to assist business owners to explore what options are available to them and their businesses and the potential implications of these decisions.
Tourism Gems is offering free 30 minutes phone chats focusing on business and personal distress support. Contact Kayleen Allen on 040 7133 690 (Mon-Fri)
General insurance advice
Insurance has and continues to be, a hot topic of discussion across the tourism industry. Our partners at Gallagher are experts in understanding the risk affecting the tourism and hospitality industry. They specialise in supporting business in obtaining suitable insurance cover to protect your business against the unexpected.
Gallagher is offering complimentary general advice to tourism and hospitality businesses. Advice line: 07 3002 3051. (Mon-Fri)
FCB Group is made up of Australia’s leading workplace relations lawyers and consultants.
How to handle the movement of staff can be a tough decision when cash-flow is restricted and visitor numbers are down. Agility and the ability to bounce back when recovery comes is also important. Our partners at FCB Group are offering 15 Minutes complimentary HR Advice around the challenges associated with staffing decisions. Dedicated hotline: 02 9083 0033 (Mon-Fri)