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Queensland extends business support measures as lockdown expands

Chairs are stacked on tables inside a restaurant closed for dine-in. Reuters/Loren Elliott

The Queensland Government has offered a number of initiatives to help businesses struggling with the spreading state lockdown.

The measures include deferring payroll tax payments for eligible businesses, deferment of some fees, and the extension of a $5,000 one-off payment across the entirety of the state.

Yesterday, Queensland’s lockdown extended into Cairns.

NRA boss Dominique Lamb welcomed the support, stating retailers, along with businesses in tourism and hospitality, will need to rely on the measures while they continue to exist in a lockdown-induced ‘survival mode’.

“Queensland is a tourism state, the fate of many businesses hinges on the money spent by visitors to the Sunshine State each year,” Lamb said.

“A drop in holidayers to places like Cairns or the Gold Coast will affect retail shops in the area as much as it does tourist operators. Retailers appreciate any bit of help they receive to keep the doors open and Queenslanders in jobs.”

And, just as the NRA released a five-point plan to help get retailers back on their feet during lockdowns, the Australian Tourism Industry Council today released a three-point plan to help Australia’s $150bn tourism industry survive.

ATIC, which has a combined membership of about 10,000 businesses, said the impact of the last two years has been devastating to tourism, and many large and small businesses in the sector are on the verge of giving up.

“Even if we are not in a lockdown situation, the ongoing operating restrictions and lack of access for visitors will continue to burden an industry that relies on people being able to move freely across the country – and across borders,” said ATIC deputy chair Daniel Gschwind.

“This presents a clear and present danger to the sustainability of the entire sector in every part of the country and we need urgent action.

“In our darkest hour, we are asking the government to stand with us.”

ATIC, on behalf of a group of nine industry bodies, is asking the Federal Government for targeted financial support for the sector and the reintroduction of flexibility provisions in the Fair Work Act to ensure employees jobs are being protected, as well as a more detailed Covid-19 Transition Roadmap from the National Cabinet in order to provide some certainty for the sector’s recovery.

The National Cabinet’s current roadmap hinges on vaccination targets – though this effort has been hampered by the Government’s own mixed messaging and unclear targeting of the AstraZeneca vaccine and a dwindling supply of Pfizer.

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