JobKeeper 2.0 offers welcome relief, but 2020 has already been written off by many

Victoria Tourism Industry Council

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) welcomes today’s announcement by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, of the changes to eligibility for the extended round of JobKeeper payments, but the challenges presented in Victoria have already seen many in the industry write-off the prospects for 2020.

VTIC Chief Executive Felicia Mariani said, “The industry has welcomed the changes announced by Treasurer Frydenberg, with the easing of eligibility criteria meaning that more businesses in Victoria will be able to access this much-needed relief.

“The additional $15 billion lifeline will mean that a further 530,000 Victorians will take up the wage subsidy in the September quarter, lifting the total number of recipients in the state to 1.5 million.

“Being able to operate in June during Victoria’s first steps to reactivating, meant that many tourism businesses across the state were ineligible for JobKeeper based on the need to show losses for the June and September quarters. The new requirements change all that and give operators some hope of making it through the COVID-19 crisis.”

Despite this important change in direction, there are also many businesses within Victoria’s tourism and events sector that have indicated they are now letting go of expectations for recovery, even in a small way, in 2020.

“With any staged easing of restrictions, as we have experienced before, many of the tourism businesses we are talking with are facing the harsh reality that they will not be able to resume operations to a sufficient level to salvage 2020.

“In particular, our events and tour and transport operators are struggling enormously and are not seeing any hope for business resumption moving into 2021.

“This has been the most challenging time for our sector in living memory. The tourism industry was the first to be affected by the impacts of Coronavirus, and we will be the last to come out the other side.

“Working with government now to plan a roadmap to recovery, including what relief measures can help to get as much of the sector through this crisis, is vital,” Ms Mariani said.

/Public Release.