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Letter to Minister Birmingham

On 3rd April 2020 BOA submitted a letter lobbying for the inclusion of Skilled Temporary Visa’s into the JobKeeper.

3rd April 2020

JobKeeper Subsidy Assistance for Temporary Visa Holders

Dear Minister Simon Birmingham,

This letter is to ask you to consider supporting temporary visa holders in the JobKeeper Subsidy.

The Backpacker Operators Association of NSW Inc. (BOA) represents the concerns and interests of all Youth Tourism operators throughout New South Wales and the ACT.  BOA’s members range from individual owner/operators to large tourism franchises from all sectors of the industry including accommodation, travel agents, tour operators, transport providers, technology solution services, entertainment venues and many more.

We commend the Governments recent move to support businesses and their Australian Citizen and permanent resident employees with the JobKeeper subsidy. This is welcomed by the Youth Tourism Industry but unfortunately only caters for a small minority, in some cases as low as 5 percent of a company’s workforce.

We understand that the topic of opening the JobKeeper subsidy to other visa classes is currently being discussed in Government. There are many individuals that have been missed by the restrictions placed on the JobKeeper subsidy. Employees that have been working for several years in companies that are vital to their operations and will be vital in rebuilding the business following the pandemic. These employees are senior managers on the road to Residency/Citizenship but not quite there yet. Some are on bridging visas; some have been on sponsorship and been working in Australia for many years. Some are on their way to sponsorship. They have been paying taxes and contributing to the economy and they and their employers deserve more support. They have been supporting the Australian economy and now the Australian Government needs to support them.

As I am sure you will be aware, Youth Tourism is the greatest contributor to GDP of all market segments. The Youth market contributes 25 percent of all visitors to Australia and 45 percent of all visitor spend.

The Youth Tourism Industry was hit first and was hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19. Without more support for vulnerable employees that have currently been excluded from the JobKeeper subsidy, key staff will be lost. The time and money businesses have spent training and developing these staff will have been wasted. As a result, businesses will have to rebuild from the ground and following losses already incurred, it may not be possible and businesses may fold.

The Youth Tourism sector is at the forefront of Australia’s economy and will be vital to support key growth and awareness to Australia following the pandemic. The industry needs more support to get through this period to ensure we have a healthy industry on the other side. As an industry we are asking for more support from you Minister. We are asking you to consider including temporary residents in the JobKeeper support package.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Flynn | President | BOA NSW Inc

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