The Club Hotel Gladstone venue manager Jacqui Betts
The Club Hotel Gladstone venue manager Jacqui Betts

Wages flow for staff after legal quirk fix

STAFF at the The Club Hotel in Gladstone are getting paid again after a "quirk" in the state's liquor licensing laws initially made the pub ineligible for the Federal Government's JobKeeper package.

In Queensland, bottle shops must be associated with licensed venues. The Club's parent company, Australian Venue Company, has a joint venture with Coles/Liquorland.

To be eligible for JobKeeper, revenue must fall by 30 per cent or more for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $1 billion.

The joint venture meant more than 1400 staff across 81 venues did not meet the 30 per cent revenue decline, despite pub's revenue being down almost 100 per cent.

The Club Hotel venue manager Jacqui Betts said that while some staff were able to get the government's JobSeeker payment, others were ineligible because of their partner's wage.

Queensland LNP Senator Amanda Stoker worked with AVC CEO Paul Waterson and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to obtain exemptions and allow AVC to access the payment while maintaining compliance with liquor laws.

"When pub workers told me that a quirk of Queensland law would mean over 1400 pub workers across the state would be out of work and without access to JobKeeper, I went straight to the Treasurer and he has been relentless in working with Paul and I to ensure these hard-working Queenslanders get the hand they need," Ms Stoker said.

As well as keeping staff attached to the pub and saving them from looking for alternative work, Ms Betts said the decision would help bring as many hands on deck for The Club's reopening.

It was closed after coronavirus shutdown measures hit Queensland in mid-March, and she's hoping for an opening date in the next three or four weeks.

The pub's regulars have been insistent with inquiries to bottle shop staff.

"I think they're going to be very excited when they find out," Ms Betts said.

The employees' access to JobKeeper will be backdated to the commencement of the program.

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the JobKeeper program was providing support for more than six million people.

"It's great to see locals starting to return to work as more venues begin to re-open with restrictions easing, which is crucial to keeping the local economy moving," he said.

Pubs and restaurants in Gladstone are now allowed to open for dine-in customers with a limit of 10 patrons at a time.

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