Thursday, 2 September 2021
Statements by Members
COVID-19: Small Business
Like so many others in this chamber, I have been moved by the small and medium-sized business owners in our communities who have been doing it tough during the ongoing uncertainty of lockdowns, especially by Victorian businesses, who are currently under lockdown No. 6. One such business in my electorate of Higgins is Acland Travel in Malvern East, owned by Brad Jukes. Like many other travel agents across Australia, Brad is struggling with the ongoing state and international border closures crippling his sector. In fact, travel agents have been in hard lockdown since March last year.
When international travel shut down in March 2020 Acland Travel, like most travel agencies, experienced an immediate 95 per cent fall in revenue. Brad is immensely grateful for federal government support received via JobKeeper and the sector-specific grants. He said it has literally saved his business. International travel is his core revenue driver, and without ongoing support and until international travel resumes this won't change. Travelling Australians need this industry now more than ever, and that's only going to increase as we come out of these lockdowns.
We need all premiers and territory leaders to keep the commitment made in national cabinet to ease restrictions when vaccine targets are hit, so that we can all get travelling again and that businesses like Brad's have a hope of surviving.