Urgent rescue package for SA’s hospitality & tourism industry

Labor is constructively calling on the Marshall Liberal Government to follow the lead of other states and urgently establish a $200 million support fund, as well as waive thousands of dollars’ worth of fees, charges and taxes to keep hospitality and tourism businesses alive and save thousands of jobs.

The $200 million Hospitality & Tourism Support Fund would help affected businesses maintain cash flow.

The South Australian hospitality and tourism industries are currently facing their biggest crisis in living memory. Scores of pubs, clubs, restaurants, cafes, caterers, tourism and accommodation operators are on the brink of collapse.

NSW, Victoria, Queensland, WA, Tasmania, ACT and NT have already released packages for their industries, waiving thousands of dollars’ worth of fees and charges.

Immediate and wide-ranging support is needed now to deal with the threat of coronavirus, which has already led to a big fall in customers and visitors. Travel bans and the new one person per 4 square metre rule poses even more challenges, not to mention the prospect of further restrictions in the near future.

There is a potential for thousands of job losses and hundreds of closures across South Australia.

In addition to the support fund, Labor is proposing the following urgent rescue package:
• Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019/20 financial year and payroll tax waived for the rest of 2019/20 and the first quarter of 2020/21 for businesses impacted by the coronavirus downturn within the hospitality and tourism industries. This means eligible businesses won’t pay any payroll tax for all of 2019/20 and the first quarter of 2020/21.
• Waive upcoming liquor licensing fees and suspend increases in liquor licensing due to commence in mid-2020.
• Waive land tax fees provided it is passed on as rent relief to tenants or if the property is an owned and operated hospitality venue.
• A moratorium on all other government taxes and fees for a minimum of 3 months, extendable dependent on the extent of virus spread.
• Defer Gaming Tax payments due next month to assist cashflow.
• The Government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within 5 business days.
• Work with landlords across South Australia to offer rent abatements to hotels, restaurants, cafes, catering companies and tourism operators to help them during the coronavirus pandemic.

Labor is also proposing an urgent bi-partisan taskforce that would include the Premier, Leader of the Opposition, representatives from restaurant, café, hotel and club owners, industry peak bodies including AHA, Restaurant & Caterers Association and Unions that would consider other options to keep businesses afloat.

South Australia’s hotel industry employs more than 26,000 people alone and there are thousands more South Australians employed in the more than 2,400 cafés, restaurants and catering businesses across South Australia.

Quotes attributable to SA Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas

There has already been a significant impact on the hospitality and tourism sectors. Bookings have been cancelled, foot traffic is down, and all signs point to it getting worse before it gets better.

This is now an emergency for the hospitality and tourism sectors. If Government doesn’t act quickly to mitigate the impact and provide support, these businesses are in danger of collapsing.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan

We need to act and need to act quickly.

By the time the immediate threat of the virus has subsided it may be too late for some businesses. Support is needed and it is needed quickly.

NSW, WA, Victoria, Queensland, ACT and NT have all announced various packages that go toward assisting the hospitality and tourism industries, South Australia needs to do the same.