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Government package deemed insufficient to support struggling hospitality industry

“More action is needed today,” says hospitality lobbying group following Melbourne’s second shutdown

Rebecca Russo
Written by
Rebecca Russo

There’s no denying the see-saw effect of closing, opening and closing again has wreaked havoc on Melbourne’s restaurants and bars. Recently, the Victorian government pledged a business support package for those affected by the renewed restrictions, but many are calling for more to be done to support blindsided businesses.

The Keep Our Venues Alive campaign is one of those voices. This campaign was launched by Australian hospitality lobbying group the Night Time Industries Association (whose chairperson, Michael Rodrigues, is also the managing director of Time Out) at the beginning of the shutdowns. KOVA has been continuously campaigning for adequate support for the 900,000 Australians who work in the hospitality industry. 

“This week has been a hammer blow to night-time industries, which have just started emerging out of hibernation,” said Rodrigues. “The lifting of restrictions on venues and operators was set to be a new dawn but has turned into a six-week nightmare. The cost to the economy and human lives and livelihoods will be horrendous.

“The Victorian Government is acting to protect public health, but it also needs to step up to help hundreds of thousands of Victorians who work in the hospitality sector. Friday's funding announcement is welcome, but it’s a few drops of rain when we need a downpour. More action is needed today.”

The NTIA is pushing for:

  • Federal or State wage subsidies for foreign Visa workers, who have not received any financial support since the pandemic began.
  • An extension to all existing rental assistance and commercial property loan deferral schemes for hospitality and tourism businesses in Victoria until the end of the year, with provision for government-funded mediation on tenant application where landlords are not passing on the benefit of those schemes.
  • A 100 per cent refund on properties’ 2020 land tax on application by landlords that is paid directly to affected tenants in the sector and available on direct application by the affected tenants.
  • Blanket refunds of all trade-related licensing and permits fees by Local Councils in relation to the 2020 financial year and a refund of municipal rates in relation to 2020 financial year.
  • Payroll tax refunds to be made available to affected businesses regardless of their size.
  • Additional emergency relief grants for those hospitality businesses in the lockdown zones who have no capacity to make revenue from takeaway and delivery options.
  • A commitment from the Federal Government to extend JobKeeper beyond September for hard-hit industries including hospitality, tourism and events.

Want to help? Keep up to date with the NTIA and the Keep Our Venues Alive initiative.  

In the meantime, here’s how you can help your favourite restaurant right now

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Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Melbourne. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

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