L-R Dean Long, Accommodation Association and Michael Johnson, TAA

Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Accommodation Association have welcomed economic stimulus measures from the NSW Government as a key step to help hotels keep staff and prevent a flood of skilled workers heading to other industries.

The support package amounts to around $26 million for the sector and allows workers to claim AUD$600 per week if they have lost 20 hours work or more or claim $375 each week if losing between eight and 20 hours of normally scheduled work.

Further, employers whose revenue is down 30% compared to a similar two-week period prior to the pandemic in 2019 can lodge claims from 19 July for one-off grants up to AUD$15,000.

The lockdown has resulted in mass cancellations for city hotels looking forward to school holidays.

Small and micro businesses with annual turnovers between AUD$30k and AUD$75k can also seek stipends of AUD$1,500 per fortnight for as long as restrictions continue, backdated to the first week of lockdown.

Prior to the lockdown, hotels in Sydney, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Shellharbour and the Central Coast were shaping for a strong July school holiday period before health-enforced restrictions led to a wipeout of bookings.

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson, said thousands of staff in affected areas are suffering from reduced hours due to cancellations and border closures.

“These revised disaster payments will allow our staff to get through this period without having to leave our industry altogether,” Johnson said.

The Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains is among a host of properties affected by the Greater Sydney lockdown.

“We are already facing a skills shortage and when we are able to trade we will need these people more than ever.”

Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, said the financial assistance was welcome for small and medium accommodation providers but ongoing consultation would be needed to ensure larger hotels receive commensurate support.

“These measures are the targeted and essential support so critically needed for Sydney’s hotels and regional accommodation providers in these dire times,” Long said.

The Beachcomber Ascend Hotel Collection at Toukley on the NSW Central Coast.

“The industry and their teams will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that there is now some breathing space and certainty.”

“Our people and our properties, especially those in Sydney and Melbourne, have been so hard hit as a result of the international travel ban, the ongoing border closures and most recently the Melbourne and Sydney shutdown.”

The communique was also the first issued jointly since the two organisations announced at AHICE in May they were carefully working toward unifying as a combined entity over the next 12 months.