Greater government support is needed for Melbourne hotels, the Associations say.
Greater government support is needed for Melbourne hotels, industry associations say.

Campaigning for a variety of government support measures is now underway by both Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Accommodation Association as part of a push to provide greater support to properties in COVID-19 riddled Victoria.

The move to heightened Stage 4 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Stage 3 in Regional Victoria has left accommodation providers and hospitality businesses scrambling to secure the viability of their operations.

Lobbying efforts to help the sector being advocated include changes to Business Turnover Eligibility to allow an average of the previous two quarters rather than the last quarter. Other measures include restoring JobKeeper to its current AUD$1,500 per fortnight for Victorian businesses beyond October, when the rest of the country begins its phase-back process under the program.

Tourism Accommodation Australia National CEO, Michael Johnson, said the situation in Victoria was devastating for Victorian hotels and the wider population, conceding that with no leisure travellers, it was likely a number of hotels will close.

L-R Dean Long, AAoA and Michael Johnson, TAA

“Hospitality businesses have dealt with frequent changes to trading restrictions and the new business eligibility test does not take into account this lumpy and uneven turnover.

“We also need alterations to the employee eligibility rules, with a “re-set” of head count for new replacement employees,” Johnson added.

Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, said the restrictions will make it more difficult for businesses to reopen as they move through, with the situation really emphasizing the requirement for additional government stimulus.

“This pandemic just hasn’t impacted small business. It has impacted the entire economy and accommodation providers at all levels. And that means that the $10,000 grant extension that was announced by the government yesterday is a good first step.

“This isn’t going to be a small business-led recovery. It needs to be an economy-led recovery and therefore stimulus measures for all business types need to be announced quickly.

“It emphasizes the importance of state government non-financial measures such as extending the mandatory Rental Code of Conduct. We also need greater clarity and communication about when increased measures are being introduced so that we can prepare appropriately,” Long added.