The two major hotel associations have welcomed this week’s New South Wales State Budget.

Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) CEO, Richard Munro, said employment in the accommodation industry will be stimulated by the NSW Government moving to lift the payroll tax threshold from $750,000 to $1 million by 2021/22.

Munro said this measure, together with other tourism and infrastructure initiatives, are welcome.

“Payroll tax is unproductive because it is a tax directly on jobs,” he said. “Therefore, any policy which decreases the payroll tax burden on operators of accommodation businesses is positive, especially given the labour-intensive nature of our industry.

“Unlike offshore online giants who rake in millions from the visitor economy, the accommodation industry employs thousands of people across all parts of the state and increasing the payroll tax threshold will give accommodation businesses a greater incentive to employ more people,” Munro said.

He said AAoA was also pleased with the tourism commitments the Berejiklian Government has announced in the State Budget.

“The mix of investment in tourism for events, promotion and supporting regional NSW is set to benefit the accommodation industry,” Munro said.

“While Sydney continues to be the mainstay for NSW tourism, backing family-operated small businesses in regional areas – many of which are struggling to stay profitable because of the unfair regulatory advantages Airbnb enjoys – is vital.

“The Government’s investment in infrastructure, such as major city roads – which facilitate regional dispersal – and country highways is to be commended.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) NSW has welcomed measures to address the significant skills shortage in the key tourism sector, in a State Budget TAA CEO Carol Giuseppi described as “great for labour and skills, and for transport infrastructure”.

She said the AUD$285.2 million targeted at vocational education and training (VET) in the Budget would be a boost for the state’s tourism sector, which employs more than 56,000 people. She also welcomed an additional $764.8 million set aside for skills development and training programs through TAFE NSW and other registered training providers.

“There are very real shortages right across the accommodation industry right now when it comes to skilled workers in the managerial, culinary, food and beverage areas in particular,” Giuseppi said.

“Making TAFE courses free for some 100,000 people will help boost the numbers of students going into these key areas of our industry in coming years. There’s no doubt building workforce capability remains a key priority for our industry and it is great to see that addressed in today’s Budget, as well as the increase in the payroll tax-free threshold.”

Giuseppi also welcomed the new transport and infrastructure initiatives included in the Budget, particularly in Western Sydney.

“Spending on the feasibility study into a high-speed underground train connecting the Sydney CBD to Parramatta and Sydney Olympic Park is important, as fast connectivity is crucial in boosting the visitor economy benefits of Western Sydney,” she said.

“Projects like this one will mean more business events and tourism dollars.”

Giuseppi also acknowledged the continued support for regional tourism infrastructure with $118 million in 2018-19, along with other initiatives.

“It’s good to see $54 million included in the Budget to market regional NSW as a tourism and event destination, along with the $7.5 million for regional programs to attract more visitors, events and conferences,” she said.

Giuseppi said it is important the Government continue to do all it can to support the value of the visitor economy in NSW – in both Sydney and the regions.

The industry’s total contribution to the economy is an estimated $32.5 billion, or 6.0 per cent of NSW’s GSP.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management