TTNQ is urging the State and Federal Governments to work together on wage support assistance similar to the JobSaver program offered by the New South Wales Government in conjunction with the Commonwealth.
Both governments have offered assistance with the Federal Government today announcing financial support for individuals who have lost work or income as a result of the three-day Cairns and Yarrabah lockdown.
Earlier the Queensland Government announced a Tourism and Hospitality Sector Covid-19 Lockdown Support package that included a deferral of payroll tax payments and fees including liquor licensing and national parks permits.
However, the end of lockdown for Cairns does not mean tourism businesses will be able to open their doors. Our region will still be at least 85% down in tourism numbers and for many this means there will not be enough bookings for them to operate.
Operators in Cairns and the broader region including places like Port Douglas and Kuranda which were not locked down all face the same problem – they are locked out from their customers.
Immediate wage support is needed for the industry which lost $10 million a day while Cairns was in lockdown and $8.6 million a day before the local lockdown with business down 85% in the past few weeks.
Some 90% of tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises and they are in a cash crisis. They require an immediate cash injection to survive.
Visitors will not come back immediately, it will take weeks for the Australian consumer to regain confidence to travel.
The industry will come back because we have what the world is looking for but we need strong businesses and highly skilled people to do that. Immediate wage support is needed to provide flexibility for employers to keep people connected to their business.
We will also need aviation support packages again as more than 85% of travellers to Cairns and Great Barrier Reef arrive by air.
This is our peak season, it is the time when Cairns & Great Barrier Reef shines and we need immediate support for businesses to do that.
Of the more than 2500 tours and attractions in the region in 2019, just over half have emerged from hibernation with half of those still operating part-time.
We estimate 650 businesses are hanging by a thread and may not have the cash flow to recover from 18 months without normal trading.
Wage support is essential to ensure the industry can resume trading when travel is once again allowed.
Chief Executive Officer