Tourism and Hospitality Call for Urgent Crisis Support

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) has issued an urgent plea to the Commonwealth Government to extend the current eligibility of the COVID-19 Disaster Payment to employees of tourism and hospitality businesses in locations outside the locked down areas.
QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said, “Our recent communications with operators paint a bleak picture of the current state of business and the immediate, to long term economic outlook for the sector.
“The industry ended the last financial year severely emaciated financially and with no reserves but with a glimmer of hope and optimism that ‘the worst’ might be behind us. Such expectations have now been comprehensively dashed.

“Tourism relies on the movement of people to function. We currently have no access to international visitors; most interstate traffic is disrupted and current lockdowns in major population centres effectively even prevent intrastate travel. Our industry is at a standstill for all, regardless of whether a business is in a lockdown area or not”.

QTIC also proposed a re-introduction to the flexibility provisions in the Fair Work Act that were put into place for employers during the JobKeeper period.

“This will allow businesses to maintain relationships with employees and will give a degree of certainty to employees that their jobs are being protected. In combination with the first measure proposed, this will make a material difference to both employers and employees.
“Australia needs a functioning tourism industry to eventually drive a recovery across all regions. Tourism and hospitality is a major employer and the glue that keeps many communities together. 

“We are too crucial to the economy to fail and we need that government support now. The cost of not investing in our future would be far greater if businesses collapse now,” said Mr Gschwind.

QTIC is also appealing to the state government to supplement the recently announced support with a review of all state government fees and charges imposed on businesses.
Mr Gschwind continued, “With literally no revenue coming in, many operators can simply not cover the cost of some of the state government-imposed fees. Common sense needs to be applied in handling this.
 “With prolonged and recurring lockdowns in most states and border closures keeping visitors from travelling, almost every tourism or hospitality operator is by now facing the most dire scenario”.

QTIC acknowledges and appreciates the collaboration and support of both state and federal governments during the last 18 months of dealing with the impact of COVID.  However, QTIC points out that with the situation continuing to deteriorate for businesses, the need for ongoing collaboration and support continues.

“We are indeed in this together”, Mr Gschwind says.