JobKeeper key to future of tourism

Catherine MasseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Debbie Noonan and Peter Noonan, owners of the Margaret River Guest House.
Camera IconDebbie Noonan and Peter Noonan, owners of the Margaret River Guest House. Credit: Nic Ellis

Tourism operators are calling for an extension of the Federal Government’s JobKeeper scheme until at least the end of the year to ensure the viability of South West businesses.

The call comes as operators note the absence of interstate and international visitors during normal peak periods, with fears about the outcome when JobKeeper ends in September.

Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association co-chief executive Steve Harrison said JobKeeper was a lifeline for hard-hit businesses.

“As we’ve come out of shutdown, a large number of businesses are still getting their visitation up, and a scheme like this is important to continue to ensure we don’t have large-scale unemployment,” he said.

“Some businesses might have adapted by September into a position where they can pull through. Others will have to reassess their expenditure.

“I think an extension in certain sectors, such as tour operators who are struggling to get back their income levels, would be very helpful,” Mr Harrison said.

Registered Accommodation Providers Margaret River Region spokeswoman Debbie Noonan said an extension to the scheme would be essential to operators’ survival later this year.

“This region at the end of the year is mainly filled by international people who come over for (the northern) winter, not local Perth people, and that market is not going to be here in the November–December period,” she said.

WA’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Regional Pulse report said regional WA tourism helped drive the State’s overall economic prosperity.

Busselton Jetty chief executive Lisa Shreeve said the jetty had lost $1 million of income between March and June.

“Tours, experiences and attractions Statewide are reporting a decrease of at least 41 per cent in income as people are getting out and about, but most don’t seem to be doing tours or don’t have the money to do tours,” she said.

Jet Adventures owner Peter Kalbfell also supported an extension of JobKeeper and said it would help businesses stay afloat until borders were reopened.

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