Industry plea for NSW support in latest lockdowns

The Night Time Industries Association is seeking immediate government assistance for the hospitality industry, which it says has been disproportionately affected by the COVID resurgence in NSW.

The NTIA has written to the senior members of the NSW including Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet with a suggested package of support measures as COVID cases in the state continue to rise and restrictions continue.

The organisation says that businesses in NSW are haemorrhaging $1.2 million per week in the latest lockdown, according to a survey of its members.

“The hospitality, performance, arts and culture sectors rely on in-person patronage and will continue to suffer while lockdowns and restricted trading conditions remain,” the letter said.

“The supply chain into these sectors, such as food, beverage, design, construction, technology, training, logistics and professional services are all also impacted as a result. The economic and personal impacts are wide-ranging and immense.”

The organisation highlighted the fact that members have operated through a revolving door of COVID-related restrictions and that once again the hospitality industry is bearing the brunt.

The NTIA has asked for a number of support mechanisms including a licensed venue grant scheme, with a sliding scale of payments based on capacity, payroll turnover and location of the venue, asking that it include new businesses too, not just established businesses which can prove a year-on-year decline in turnover.

This was a major issue with a number of the support measures state and federal governments introduced during COVID which required businesses to show certain levels of comparable losses.

The NTIA has also asked for the government to reinstate rent moratoriums, delayed payment schemes for federal and state taxes and flexible work provisions which allow work hours, locations and duties.

Financially, the NTIA has asked that the NSW Government lower the $75,000 minimum earning threshold for the COVID-19 Support Grant to include small businesses and sole traders, such as performers. In addition, it has asked for a licensed venue grant scheme similar to that offered in Victoria in 2020.

Justine Baker, chair of the Night Time Industries Association said that to survive the latest lockdown period, industries need immediate support.

“The COVID-19 Support Grant of up to $10,000 is welcomed, but is simply not even close to what is needed to help keep businesses afloat through an extended lockdown and the heavily restricted rebuild period,”she said.

“The cash burn for businesses is crippling and clearly not sustainable, nor does it aid recovery efforts. Our members report that small hospitality and performance businesses are burning up to $25,000 per week, and larger businesses losses range from $150,000 to $1.2 million per week.

“Our members do not have businesses that can be turned on and off easily, nor quickly, and they are the first businesses to shut down and the last to reopen. We’re urgently calling on the NSW Government to provide immediate support to our sectors as well as a roadmap for the future so that they don’t continue to operate blindly.”

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