July 2020 Update: From the Chief Executive

While Queensland finds itself in a very enviable situation compared to most parts of the world and the nation, we are a long way from a full recovery in our industry.

The situation in Victoria and the uncertainty about NSW’s infection trajectory is keeping both government and industry on high alert. We all have an interest in avoiding a slide back into more severe restrictions, let alone a hard border closure. It is a fine line, not least given that a lot of community sentiment appears to favour a more drastic isolation of Queensland.

QTIC continues to engage with the Queensland Government to ensure that potential, sporadic outbreaks both here and in neighbouring states and territories are managed, wherever possible, in an effective public health manner, rather than prompting wholesale lock-downs and closures. The National Cabinet gave a clear indication that “suppression” was the preferred strategy, which should give some comfort to our industry.

Importantly the focus for us and the government must also be on the path to recovery. The forecasts by the Federal Treasurer last week gave a sobering outlook. The size of future Commonwealth budgets deficits, at this stage, are the least of our worries. What really should concern us is the projected collapse of non-mining business investment. For this financial year, it is expected to decline by 9.5 per cent, even more alarmingly, in the following year the collapse is likely to be 19.5 per cent! This paints a very concerning picture for our economy, threatening jobs growth, regional activity and incomes.

It is now a challenging time for all of us to create an environment that encourages and incentivises investment, including in tourism. If we want Queensland to be more competitive and take advantage of the opportunities that a domestic tourism market brings, we must have the regulatory environment that facilitates product improvements and new investments. Financial and tax incentives must be found to leverage funds into strengthening our industry, our products and services and to make tourism a strong driver of the recovery.

This was our message to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Queensland Government’s Response to the COVID-19 Crisis. Our statement to the Economic and Governance Committee of the Parliament can be read here.

On a very positive note, we are very pleased that the continuation of the JobKeeper program has been confirmed by the Commonwealth Government. If follows a comprehensive advocacy effort from a broad range of industries, including us and our partners at the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC). Thank you for your support!

Also, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has launched an inquiry to investigate the practices of the insurance industry that impact small businesses and consider whether small business insurance products are fit for purpose.

We’ve been hearing from an increasing number of members recently about a growing trend of insurance companies denying businesses insurance completely or pricing insurance policies out of reach. QTIC has raised this as an urgent issue in relevant state and federal forums, including with federal members of Parliament . The inquiry announced now will look specifically at addressing these various concerns.  While this inquiry is focused on the small business sector, we are quite aware that the problem is affecting all businesses and we will continue to pursue the issue at all levels. 

Please keep us informed of your concerns and brilliant ideas. We will continue to do what we can to support our industry in the massive effort to rebuild our lives.

Daniel Gschwind