All-in call to combat 'bleak' state of Queensland tourism

All-in call to combat 'bleak' state of Queensland tourism

The 'bleak' state of a Queensland tourism sector hamstrung by the current lockdown has prompted a peak industry body to call for extending the support of hospitality workers beyond the greater Brisbane region.

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) wants the Federal Government to make all employees of tourism and hospitality businesses in the state eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

"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," says QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind.

"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."

Gschwind says the current situation has created a perfect storm for the Queensland tourism industry.

"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."

Under current provisions, the Disaster Payment is available to people who have lost work and income due to Queensland's COVID-19 public health order. Payments of $450 a week are available to those who lose less than 20 hours of work a week and $750 for those who lose more than those hours.

The payments are only available to people who live or work in the 11 local government areas affected by the state's current lockdown.

QTIC is also calling for the Queensland Government to come to the party with additional business support after its latest announcement to provide $5,000 payments to small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by the current lockdown and lockdowns in other states.

Gschwind has also called for a review of all state government fees and charges imposed on businesses.

"With literally no revenue coming in, many operators can simply not cover the cost of some of the state government-imposed fees," he says.

"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."

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