Dear friends and colleagues,
Further to my email yesterday, I am working on a coordinated response to the Premier’s Roadmap. I have spoken to a number of you over the last 48 hours, and here is a summary of the key issues for me to raise, loosely broken down by the accommodation and hospitality sectors, with some broader needs noted further down.
I have not forgotten sectors such as retail, ‘product’ (e.g. spa), or primary producers. I hope that the key issues are captured in the broader topics; if not, just shout. We have a chance to be heard, over the coming days. I encourage you to email or call me ASAP with any other pertinent or pressing issues that you’d like me to get on the table.
In the accommodation sector:
- An issue that pre-dates the Roadmap is to do with the interpretation of the entitlements provided under the Regional Accommodation Support Package. Many, quite understandably, inferred that the maximum of $1125 was per booking, not a total sum per room/cottage/etc. Unfortunately, it is the latter, which significantly reduces the potential refund. So, if you have, say, two bookable rooms, the most you’ll be able to claim is $1125 x 2. This has caused distress for many of you. The conversation is ongoing.
- Most accommodation businesses are small or micro businesses and fall through the cracks, unable to apply for Job Keeper, the Business Support Fund, or even the Cashflow Boost. This means many small accommodation businesses are in serious strife. We are seeking additional support for small/micro businesses than having received little or no financial support.
- According to the Roadmap, accommodation bookings at ’Step Three’ are capped in line with the ‘social bubble’, but it is not clear what this means. The ‘social bubble’ allows for five visitors from one household to visit a house. Extending this rule to accommodation is very confusing: does this mean a family of five per room, or for the entire premises? We are seeking clarity on this point.
In the hospitality sector:
- The condition that hospitality venues must have ‘predominantly outdoor seated service’ in order to open under Step Three is largely impractical, given the time of year. Spring weather is typically inclement, making this very challenging and costly to venues.
- There is significant financial inequity between regional and metro hospitality businesses. The size of the market (the number of potential customers) for regional businesses is much smaller than the metro, often making takeaway a less viable source of revenue and yet the level of business support provided to regional businesses is typically much lower than metro; some schemes are metro-only for example. This must be addressed.
- There is no support scheme similar to that provided to the accommodation sector, even though restaurants (etc) have been subjected to many thousands of dollars worth of cancellations. Wedding cancellations alone, for example, account for many, many thousands of dollars.
Across all sectors:
- We are advocating that proposed Job Keeper reductions will have a significant impact on businesses and that if reductions in payments to full or part-time employees, or casuals working greater than 20 hours per week occur, it will result in increased unemployment and an increased number of business failures. The current rate must be maintained through to the end of 2020.
- The extended Business Support Fund entitlements for regional businesses are half that of metro businesses ($5,000 vs $10,000) which is inequitable. Again, we will seek to redress this.
- The development of sector-specific opening roadmaps, with Covid safety measures in place enabling faster opening, is critical. This would have multiple risk-mitigating scenario plans to ensure visitor safety.
Please email me on email@example.com or call me on 0419 574 813 any time, if there are other issues relating to the Roadmap or general Covid related business impacts that you’d like addressed.