By Joyce DiMascio

One of Australia’s biggest and most influential peak bodies, The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) has submitted a proposal to the federal government for new financial support for businesses that continue to be significantly impacted by government restrictions, following the end of JobKeeper in March.

The Chamber says its proposal comes in response to the many businesses, particularly in tourism and events, who are facing a dire future after across-economy support ends.

ACCI’s acting CEO Jenny Lambert said: “The most important thing governments can do to provide support for business is to address the uncertainty and disproportionality of restrictions, offer a pathway to reopen international travel, and roll out the vaccine effectively.

“In the meantime, it is only fair that businesses receive support to prevent them going under through no fault of their own.”

As a former head of Meetings and Events Australia (MEA), Jenny Lambert has a deep understanding of the business events industry.

She told micenet that the business events sector has been extensively involved in the consultation on the options for what should be in place post March 2021, with the Exhibition and Events Association of Australasia (EEAA) as members and with Geoff Donaghy representing the Business Events Council of Australia (BECA) on the Tourism Restart Taskforce.

“The support package is put forward not as one for tourism, but for all businesses that are still being significantly impacted by government movement and gathering restrictions. This firmly puts business events into the mix for support to extend beyond March,” she said.

“The government has initiated detailed consultation through treasury on the support options which is promising.”

Ms Lambert said that ironically, it has not been helpful that the Queensland premier came out in support of extending JobKeeper for tourism as it has politicised the issue.

“It is very important that the proposal that ACCI puts forward is not seen as an extension of JobKeeper, which was an economy-wide scheme, and instead one that is targeted on businesses still heavily restricted by government rules,” she said.

ACCI it is proposing a two-tiered financial support package with turnover thresholds higher than the current JobKeeper scheme, recognising that many businesses are experiencing turnover impacts over two-thirds down.

“These businesses were highly successful prior to COVID and were responsible for Australia’s global competitive advantage in tourism, business events and major events – in other words we are preserving future jobs,” she said.

Read more and see the submission here: