Accom sector calls for state governments to ditch taxes on JobKeeper payments

The tourism accommodation sector is calling on all state and territory governments to remove additional taxes and charges on JobKeeper payments, to ensure that businesses can retain their connection with close to 100,000 employees in the sector.

“The Federal Government has stepped up to the plate with this wage subsidy, recognising that businesses across Australia value their employees and yet do not have the cashflow to retain employees during a period of zero demand,” said Accommodation Association of Australia CEO Dean Long.

“The stated purpose of JobKeeper is to keep an employer connected to the business, so businesses are in a position to bounce back and contribute to the economy post-Covid 19.”

“Unfortunately while states have been supportive of small business they are inconsistent in overall response, imposing taxes and charges on the Federal Government stimulus that act as a disincentive for employers to put their staff onto JobKeeper.

“States such as South Australia and Western Australia have demonstrated leadership in waiving the payroll tax on JobKeeper, but there is a lack of consistency across other states response.

“Equally workers compensation premiums should only be paid on the hours worked, not on the total JobKeeper payment. We are simply seeking a commonsense response that recognises that where there is no risk there is no payment.”

Tourism accommodation businesses have seen revenue falls of up to 85 per cent across Australia with 68 per cent either closed or being utilised for essential services according to the recent Australian Hotel Industry Sentiment Survey, Impact of COVID19 report.

The report also pointed to a bleak outlook for Q2 and Q3 with some small improvement in in the last quarter of the year subject to the easing of restrictions and government investment in driving domestic demand.

“The wage subsidy is critical for our sector,” said Long. “As an industry we want to do the right thing and retain employees so that industry can bounce back when demand lifts. We call on all State and Territory governments to support industry’s efforts by removing inequitable taxes and charges.”