Hotels sector urges govt to extend JobKeeper until the end of the year

Hotels sector urges govt to extend JobKeeper until the end of the year

The Australian Hotels Association has put forward a suite of measures to the Federal Government designed to resuscitate the struggling sector, including a proposal to extend the JobKeeper program until the end of the year.

Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell has revealed the official submission tabled to the government by the AHA warned the sector, which has been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue to struggle even after the immediate health crisis abates.

It comes as government figures warn hospitality workers make up more than 1 million of the 3.5 million workers currently signed up to JobKeeper.

“Even whilst shut down, the costs and debts for hotels continue to accumulate daily. The financial pain is far from over. Our members are struggling with uncertainty as to when and how they can commence trading and the ‘debt cliff,” the submission said.

Mr Clennell said AHA has put forward three proposals to the government.

“That Jobkeeper be extended to all hotel businesses until at least December 31,” Mr Clennell said.

“They have proposed that business taxpayers be allowed to claim a tax deduction for entertainment expenses and fringe benefits tax be waived for three years.

“And they have proposed that the twice-yearly CPI excise increase on beer and bottled spirits be frozen for three years.”

Mr Clennell said the sector has also written to the government urging greater clarity over social distancing rules.

“They are talking about hotel outdoor dining space in some states only being able to have only 20 persons while in shopping centres and airplanes there is no limit,” Mr Clennell said.

“So, I think out of this if you are looking at sector-specific extensions of Job Keeper, we can now identify, it could include tourism, hotels, arts and potentially its biggest user at the moment, construction.”