JobKeeper replacement as industry faces economic cliff

 

A tax-based cashflow boost for tourism businesses is shaping up as the most likely industry support to replace JobKeeper once the wage subsidy ends, according to sector sources as they warn a "serious" economic cliff is looming.

Industry groups say it appears increasingly liked that there will be no tourism-specific wage subsidy to replace JobKeeper after March, despite it being their preferred option.

A cashflow boost through the Australian Tax Office, similar to what was seen at the start of the pandemic lockdowns, has been discussed.

 

Tourism Minister Dan Tehan wants a temporary, targeted support to replace JobKeeper for tourism businesses. Picture: Brendan Radke
Tourism Minister Dan Tehan wants a temporary, targeted support to replace JobKeeper for tourism businesses. Picture: Brendan Radke

While not seen as good as JobKeeper, the industry is hoping in conjunction with the vaccine rollout bringing more certainty to state border restrictions it could be enough to keep more businesses afloat.

Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has indicated he prefers support payments to be direct to businesses and using existing mechanisms.

It is 33 days until the JobKeeper payments end. Tourism peak bodies have been collaborating to ensure support continues in some form.

 

 

It's understood they are being "realistic" in accepting the end of the wage subsidy, but are positive about the cash flow boost's ability to help businesses through for now.

The first cash flow boost provided credits of $20-100,000 through monthly or quarterly tax statements, equivalent to wages paid to employees.

The Tourism and Transport Forum is calling for direct payments of $1000 a fortnight per employee for businesses that have suffered a 30-49 per cent loss of turnover, and $1500 a fortnight for businesses that lost more than 50 per cent of their turnover.

Australia Tourism Industry Council boss Simon Westaway said a cash flow boost or similar mechanism would be well received.

"The cliff that JobKeeper represents is serious," he said.

"(A cash flow incentive) gives businesses the confidence to keep key staff on and keep moving."

Australian Tourism Industry Council boss Simon Westaway. Picture: Supplied
Australian Tourism Industry Council boss Simon Westaway. Picture: Supplied

Queensland Tourism Industry Council boss Daniel Gschwind said while a wage subsidy was preferable, the industry was open to other mechanisms.

"We were very strong in arguing there should be a measure to support wages in businesses, but ultimately cash is cash," he said.

TTF CEO Margy Osmond said a wage subsidy was still the best option.

"The issue is, we need something that covers the industry for the next six to nine months," she said.

Labor Senator Nita Green said uncertainty around what happens after JobKeeper was contributing to job losses.

"We want to make sure that we save as many jobs as possible," she said.

Mr Tehan has said he has been consulting with the sector and the government was working through its usual processes to develop a support plan.

 

 

 

Originally published as JobKeeper replacement as industry faces 'serious' economic cliff



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