Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson, has issued praise on behalf of members to the Federal Government for the decision yesterday to extend the JobKeeper wage subsidy by a further six months.
Johnson said that with international borders closed and varying levels of nerves on domestic borders keeping domestic tourism in check for the time being, JobKeeper was the only way to keep the sector viable.
“It is good to see the Government acknowledge sectors like ours are suffering more than others and will continue to suffer into the future,” he said.
“The announcement by the Government today will go a long way towards saving businesses and keeping our staff in jobs after September. We thank the Prime Minister and Treasurer.”
Johnson brought attention to a potential flaw in the system regarding eligibility of casual employees for businesses which experience a prolonged period of shutdown. He said the hospitality sector’s casual employee base may have moved on since March 1 when JobKeeper took effect, leading to a decreased level of assistance for these businesses. On that basis, Johnson said the association would lobby government for a re-set of eligibility criteria.
“JobKeeper is only payable for employees who were with the employer on 1 March 2020, so this would decrease the assistance to businesses in places like Victoria which have recently been shut down for a second time,” Johnson said.
“We will be working closely to refine existing economic responses to COVID-19 and promoting additional ideas to protect jobs and rebuild our industry.”