The Nationals WA have called on the State Government to amend the scope of its tourism assistance package amid fears many struggling businesses would not qualify for much-needed support dollars.
Leader Mia Davies welcomed the announcement of the Tourism Recovery Program but was concerned many small businesses struggling under the impacts of COVID-19 were ineligible.
“Thousands of regional tourism businesses have been severely impacted by the coronavirus restrictions and we have been pushing the State Government for a support package for several weeks,” Ms Davies said.
“While it is pleasing the State Government has answered our call to help the sector, we question why it is limited only to businesses that are members of Regional Tourism Organisations.
“If you are an unaffiliated business, or a member of a local tourism group, you will fall through the gap.”
The Nationals WA small business and tourism spokesperson Vince Catania said there were many hotels, caravan parks and tour providers that wouldn’t be able to apply for the grants.
“Not every business in tourism is a member of the associations listed by the Government in the recovery program conditions,” he said.
“These businesses are still hurting regardless of whether they are members of an industry group or not.
“Unless there is financial assistance from the State Government many of the tourism operators who can’t apply for the grants will go to the wall.”
Mr Catania said the State Government was still dragging its feet on other relief measures available to them, like hitting pause on power and water service charges.
“We continue to urge the State Government to consider a halt on water and power service charges, like the toilet tax, to further reduce the financial stress on these businesses,” he said.