Welcome news for events and tourism industries

The Australian Government has just released confirmation that JobKeeper payments will continue past the initial cut-off date in September. However, the wage subsidy will undergo a payment cut.

JobKeeper will continue until March next year, but payments will drop to $1,200 a fortnight after September and again to $1,000 a fortnight in 2021.

People working fewer than 20 hours a week will receive $750 after September and then $650 a fortnight for the first three months of 2021.

People receiving the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement will also see payment drop from the current $1100 to $800 a fortnight after September.

Businesses will have to prove they’re still struggling financially each quarter—which means they’re down at least 30 per cent on pre-pandemic levels—to uphold eligibility for the program after September.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was quick to remind those Australians on wage subsidy programs that they should still continue to seek work.

“JobSeeker and JobKeeper are not donothing payments,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. “JobSeeker and JobKeeper are payments that support people’s incomes but are not designed to prevent them from going out and seeking work.”

The Government expects the expanded JobKeeper program will take the total cost to approximately $86 billion.

After the announcement of the JobKeeper extension, ATEC claim that JobKeeper 2.0 is a solid step towards securing tourism’s future.

“The extension of JobKeeper has been highly anticipated by businesses across the economy and none will be more grateful than Australia’s tourism industry to see its continuation,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

“This extension will give tourism operators the security of knowing they can plan about retention of staff and management of resources moving forward as they attempt to navigate a difficult period between now and when the international borders re-open.”

“Tourism businesses have been hit hard this year not just by COVID, but by bushfires, drought, floods—but they want to get back to business and are waiting eagerly to welcome back their international visitors. Having skilled staff ready and waiting to go will be a critical factor in the speed of their rebuild.”

Mr Shelley said that while the new March extension date will be helpful for some tourism businesses, there will be many internationally focused businesses which will require further support and sadly, some who will not survive the distance.

“There are many, many businesses which have invested heavily in building tourism products which appeal to international visitors like reef and rainforest experiences,  unique bridge climbs, natural attractions, indigenous tours, food and wine experiences and eco resorts—and these experiences have helped to deliver huge export income for our economy.

“These businesses need to be preserved, along with our valuable inbound tourism operator distribution businesses, in order to ensure we can reignite export tourism once borders open.

“Our research showed 90% of export tourism businesses are currently accessing JobKeeper and 55% say they need borders open by the end of the year to be viable, so we needed a solution to support those businesses to hold on until international borders open.

“We therefore welcome the JobKeeper extension news and congratulate the Government on its commitment to supporting the tourism industry.

“Over the coming weeks and months, we will work with the Government to find solutions we believe will further protect our industry including overheads subsidy support, capital grants, re-boot grants and developing a timeline for the eventual reopening of our international borders.”