Help for small tourism operators in WA impacted by Covid19. Denied access to a Govt grant

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Many small WA tourism businesses are being denied access to the State Government’s Covid19 WA Tourism Recovery grants of $6500 because they are not members of a regional tourism organisation. We are urging the WA government to reconsider this.

We are requesting the Premier and Minister for Tourism to amend the Tourism Recovery Program eligibility criteria by removing the current “Criteria D - membership of a Regional Tourism Organisation or holding accreditation”, and replacing this with “Criteria D - As at 31 January 2020, a tourism business registered for GST” as a valid criteria to the program. 

We aren’t asking for charity - we are asking for equity!  This grant was announced to get the WA tourism back on track, yet the small businesses that are the backbone of the industry are being denied the opportunity to apply. Held to ransom over a membership!

These are the businesses most in need of the assistance and in many cases did not join these organisations due to financial constraints.  Many were also unhappy with the representation their regional tourism organisation were providing and this was another contributing factor to not renewing their membership.

Nowhere on the membership prospectuses of these tourism organisations does it state that membership is a prerequisite to apply for future government grants.

Our Tourism business “Denmark Animal Farm & Pentland Alpaca Stud“ has been operating for 30 years and had to shut for 11 weeks due to Covid19 restrictions. We held a membership with Australia’s South West for 13 years but due to needing to trim our expenses we ceased our membership in 2017.  We would never cut back on animal care costs during a financial downturn, but we can cut back on memberships and other “paper” expenses.

Who would have ever thought that this decision would now make us ineligible for a government grant?  A grant that would greatly assist getting our business back up and running after 11 weeks of zero income.