Tourism leaders, already furious with the paltry assistance package to deal with the impacts of coronavirus are calling on the State Government to hurry up and show them the money.
It comes as the Federal Government extends the Chinese travel ban for another week, which will worsen the situation for the Gold Coast businesses, already facing a half-a-billion dollar downturn because of the virus.
Earlier this week, the state government announced a $2.4 million assistance package for the Gold Coast, to be spent by local leaders to help market the city.
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But, Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista says they’re yet to see a cent of it.
“Unfortunately, we’ve not yet received any funds from the state government.
“Obviously with the machinery of the state government, and multiple agencies involved, these things can take time – which is frustrating.
“We do urge the state government to make those funds available ASAP, to assist the Gold Coast tourism sector,” Ms Battista said.
“I’ve not spoken with either the Minister or the Assistant Minister since last Wednesday’s meeting with the Premier and Cabinet, which was with dozens of industry stake holders.
“I have spoken with senior bureaucrats, and I am meeting with one of the senior bureaucrats next Wednesday, but no I haven’t heard from the Minister or the Assistant Minister,” Ms Battista said.
By the time Destination Gold Coast is able to sit down with Bureaucrats about the money, it’s feared the damage will be even worse than the predicted $400-500 million.
Ms Battista says the $2.4 million was already a dismal contribution, and by the time it’s received by local leaders – it won’t be helping at all.
“It’s certainly the biggest crisis that Gold Coast tourism has faced in recent time, we know it’s bigger than SARS, it’s bigger than the Global Financial Crisis, and the longer that it goes on, obviously the greater the impact on 3,500 businesses on the Gold Coast that rely on the tourism income – most of which are mum and dad operators.
“We very rarely ask for financial relief, from either the state or the federal government, and we’ve been very clear with the state government, that we think the figure that we require is at least $10 million – plus relief – for those businesses that are struggling immediately through rates, levies and taxes.
“I just impress upon the state and federal government that $2.4 million between them is not going to do a whole lot to help the Gold Coast.
“It is in fact a slap in the face at this point in time, for the golden goose of Queensland’s tourism sector and the fourth largest tourism destination in Australia.
“We need help and we need it now,” Ms Battista said.