‘It’s dire out there’: JobKeeper expansion not enough
NEW guidelines for JobKeeper still may not be enough to keep Whitsunday businesses afloat according to Tourism Whitsundays
Under the new guidelines, an employee now only has to have been employed since July 1, 2020, instead of March 1, meaning more staff will be able to qualify.
The announcement comes as Tourism Whitsundays yesterday asked the Federal Government for an exemption to eligible tourism and hospitality businesses, saying the new border restrictions would place more pressure on businesses to keep residents employed.
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler renewed these calls today and said despite the new restrictions, the region still needed an exemption that would allow for JobKeeper payments for all new employees regardless of when they were hired.
"From our industry here, new employees happen every month," she said.
"So we need an exemption for tourism and hospitality for key areas that are eligible so that new employees are covered.
"It shouldn't just be up until July, the turnover is going to keep happening because of the nature of the sector.
"Staff are now leaving the region, they're going to work in mining, they're going to leave to go elsewhere, it's happening
"How we retain this skilled workforce, it's just scary."
However, Mrs Wheeler said the region should be given more targeted assistance or risk more business closure as a result of COVID-19.
"From what I can read of the response it is a very generic response that is talking about the stimulus and support that is being provided right across the state, which is fantastic," she said.
"It's great to see the government support in Queensland, but what we're looking for is dedicated support and recognition of what the Whitsundays contributes to the tourism economy of Queensland and help to keep the industry alive.
"We're on a very weak ledge right now where we can very much see many of our marine tourism operators, island resorts or backpacking sector not be here when we get through this."
"It's dire out there."