The needs of big-employing industries in tourism, hospitality and events must be front of mind in the run up to the Federal Budget tonight.
“Prior to the COVID crisis, the accommodation and foodservice sectors employed over 900,000 people including hundreds of thousands of young people. With over 160,000 of those jobs lost, it is essential there is support in the Budget tonight and through further easing of restrictions in the coming weeks,” Australian Chamber Tourism Chair John Hart said.
“The wage subsidies for young people to be announced tonight will be a big help in encouraging tourism and hospitality industries to consider ramping up their staffing levels despite the uncertainty that still remains.”
Border and capacity restrictions have been a big focus of the Tourism Restart Taskforce, which was established by Aus Chamber Tourism in May to address the crisis unfolding in tourism and hospitality.
One of the members of the Taskforce is restaurant owner and Business SA Chair, Nikki Govan: “The apprenticeship and young people wage subsidies will be a great help, but there is much still to be addressed by both the Federal as well as the State and Territory Governments if we are to see employment in tourism and hospitality at anywhere near pre-COVID levels.
“The announcement of the restart of quarantine free arrivals from New Zealand from 16 October is a great first step for international travel, but we urge the Federal Government to provide greater certainty in a timetable for restart from other low risk source countries for international students, skilled migrants, business travellers and leisure tourists.
“While this timetable plays out, the Federal Budget will need to deliver more cash support to businesses reliant on international tourism. The Government’s $50 million regional tourism recovery initiative announced last month, while welcome, needs to be extended to tourism businesses in other regions, including in major cities.
“We also urge all Governments to look at easing the restrictions applying to business events as well as those still maintaining the 1 person per 4 sq m rule in hospitality and event venues. Jurisdictions that have adopted 1 per 2 sq m rule have shown that this can be managed well within a COVID safe environment.
“In any roadmap, all jurisdictions need to be aiming for the capacity restrictions to be 1.5 metres between tables in a dining environment as this should be sufficient to appropriately manage the health risk given the current status of COVID in Australia.
“Tonight’s Budget will be reinforcing the message that it is all about jobs and getting people back into work. This can only happen with the right support, and in an environment where the COVID risk is well managed by sensible movement and capacity restrictions for tourism, events and hospitality.”