An Open Letter to Hon. Mark McGowan, Premier of WA & Government Elected Members

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Dear Honourable Mark McGowan (Premier of Western Australia), Honourable Paul Papalia (Minister for Tourism) and Western Australian Members of Parliament,

We are writing to you regarding the significance of the impact of the current pandemic on the Western Australian tourism industry. The State and Federal stimulus packages, whilst welcomed, are doing little to directly support Western Australia’s tourism industry, with approximately 94% of tourism businesses ineligible for the State Government’s payroll cash grant.

Due to the seasonality of our industry, many businesses (in particular regional businesses) have not seen any income for many months up to the present. Businesses are on the brink of collapse, and with the upcoming 2020 tourism season on hold, some are facing a total of up to 18 months with no income. It is unlikely that many will survive.

The tourism industry has a direct impact on the economy of all regional centres and towns. The industry has lost an estimated 30,500 jobs, of which 16,230 are in regional areas. Given the high level of casualisation of the workforce in the sector, actual job losses could in fact be up to 30% higher than reported.

Support is needed now to ensure the survival of the tourism industry. We are urging the State Government to ‘fast-track’ an immediate financial survival package for those tourism businesses most affected. We are seeking transparency regarding support for the tourism industry in the State’s recovery plan, and we request a voice and a tourism-specific working group (inclusive of industry) to work with Government on these issues now and into the future.

This is not the time to go slow. Our industry’s future, and the economic future of our regions, depend on appropriate support actioned quickly.

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