Confusion over JobKeeper eligibility

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Tourism Council of WA CEO Evan Hall called on support for small tourism businesses under the Job Keeper legislation
Camera IconTourism Council of WA CEO Evan Hall called on support for small tourism businesses under the Job Keeper legislation Credit: Ben Crabtree/WA News, Ben Crabtree

Tourism providers in the Capes are concerned they will not qualify for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper benefits.

Tourism Council WA has been inundated by concerns from small and regional tourism businesses regarding the payment.

According to a recent industry survey the impact of COVID-19 had been most keenly felt by seasonal businesses including whale shark tour operators and smaller family-owned businesses.

The survey revealed 57 per cent of businesses had ceased operations and gone into “hibernation”, with 42 per cent still trading but with drastically reduced operations.

Easter long weekend is a peak revenue stream for tourism providers in the Capes and Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall, pictured, said many businesses were seasonal and may not be eligible to receive the JobKeeper payments. “Tourism businesses have been decimated as bookings for their peak season are cancelled. At the same time, they are being asked to process refunds with cash they don’t have,” Mr Hall said.

Edge of the Forest Motel director Allen Wilkes criticised the Federal Government for a lack of a safety net after “rushed” legislation closed certain markets.

“It’s a little bit confusing. We have a partnership business where we split income 50/50 but only one of us can apply for the jobseeker allowance,” he said.

“One of us would have to apply for the JobSeeker payment which is less. Obviously we have funds put aside for a rainy day, but that won’t last forever. We have been closed for weeks already.”

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