Yeppoon tour boat operators now eligible for rebate
THE Queensland Government has moved to include Keppel’s struggling tourism vessel operators in its $2 million COVID-19 Marine Tourism Rebate after initially confining its support to those situated between Port Douglas and the Whitsundays.
A rebate of up to $20,000 was being offered to those operators that had suffered financial losses because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, to offset the cost of privately owned marina berthing fees.
Last week One Nation’s candidate for Keppel Wade Rothery challenged incumbent MP Brittany Lauga to intervene on behalf of local businesses like Freedom Fast Cats, Great Keppel Island Hideaway and the Pumpkin Island Xpress, that should be eligible for the government assistance.
Today Ms Lauga announced Yeppoon tour boat operators were now eligible for the grants, saying they would form an important part of Queensland’s economic recovery plan.
“This has potential to significantly ease pressure on businesses in our community,” Ms Lauga said.
“Tourism is a cornerstone of the Yeppoon economy – supporting one in three local jobs. I know hundreds of local operators have struggled to make ends meet throughout this pandemic.
“That’s why I’ve fought hard to secure an expansion to the government’s Marine Tourism Rebate to operators in the Livingstone council area.”
Ms Lauga said the Queensland Government was delivering an $8 billion plan to rebuild Queensland’s economy and to help keep Queenslanders in jobs through the coronavirus pandemic.
“These grants will help operators cover the cost of expensive marine berthing fees and will also help businesses get back on their feet in the future,” she said.
The program will open applications from 9am today (Friday 25 Sept).
For more info, visit dsdti.qld.gov.au/our-work/covid-19-marine-tourism-rebate
Land rent relief protects tourism jobs
In addition to the help for marine tourism operators, the Queensland Government announced tourism resorts, hospitality providers and attractions from Mount Isa to the Gold Coast would share $2.55 million worth of land rent in ongoing COVID relief.
Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said the $2.55 million in rent waivers brought further relief to 72 tourism businesses operating on state-owned land and islands.
“Tourism is a vital employer and this industry a vital part of our COVID-19 economic recovery plan,” Dr Lynham said.
“These continued measures are another way to ensure the sector is ready to respond when the economy is back on its feet.”
On average this will save them $35,000 each for the next six months.”
These tourism operators are a collection of resorts, hospitality and attractions located around regional Queensland including Cairns, Townsville, the Whitsundays, Mackay, Rockhampton, Fraser Coast, Gympie, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, and as far west as Mount Isa.
This latest waiver comes on top of $33.8 million in State land rent already waived as part of the Government’s $2.5 billion COVID relief to help support business during the global pandemic.
“With the shutdown of travel across the world, our tourism industry has been hit hard,” he said
“While there’s been some level of recovery as Queenslanders begin to explore their own back yards, tourism businesses across the state are still doing it tough.
“Not having to pay land rent is one way we can continue to help them and keep Queenslanders in jobs.”
Tourism operators are expected to pass on the appropriate amount of land rent savings to sublessees.
More information can be found at www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/state/rents/tourism-lease-and-licence-holder-assistance or by calling 1800 841 397.