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Exclusive: TAA’s Johnson on the ongoing fight for government support

Tourism Accommodation Australia National CEO, Michael Johnson.

In an exclusive column for HM, Tourism Accommodation Australia National CEO, Michael Johnson, reflects on the uncertainty and difficulties of the past few months and gives credit to the key players in the recent fight to secure JobKeeper 2.0 for the hotel industry.

The continuation of JobKeeper was crucial for our industry. It will keep business afloat and save jobs. It was a great win.

But many in our industry have no idea about how much work and effort went on behind the scenes to make sure the concerns of our members were heard.

There is a lot of noise on the political scene at the moment.  Many businesses are suffering and almost every industry is pressuring government for some kind of support.

In the grand scheme of things, as long as our industry lives to fight another day, I have no real problem being the silent player. It is what industry associations do best.

But I would like to recognise my colleagues who actually did the heavy lifting, and give credit where it is due.

Australian PM, Scott Morrison, recently extended JobKeeper to keep hotel sector workers engaged.

Over the last difficult few months, the AHA and TAA networks across the nation have worked tirelessly.

Our national network and connections to governments at all levels are second to none – and it showed. Each state has its own unique set of circumstances and the differences between them sometimes seem to widen each day. TAA and AHA’s state CEOs and Presidents have worked on localised responses in each state and territory and both organisations haves been working toward nationwide solutions.

Our efforts to safely open up hospitality venues, where possible, and gain extra support for those still bogged down in the COVID-19 quagmire have been critical. We worked directly with Federal Treasury on the extension of JobKeeper by providing solid, research-based evidence. We offered solutions and backed it with the financial resources of our associations.

The modelling done by Ernst & Young on behalf of AHA and TAA laid out the actual case for continued support in crystal-clear terms, along with STR stats and forecasting, reiterating how far behind we are trading in all states.

After the announcement of Jobkeeper 2.0 we continued to consult, in particular around a reset of employee eligibility rules, and to its credit the government listened and moved quickly to make changes.

There is no doubt we have a long road to return to profitability, but TAA and the AHA have the experience, relationships and resources to support our hotels and industry. And we will continue to do so.

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