BENDIGO Tourism is about to warn elected officials that failing to extend JobKeeper payments could put 4400 jobs at risk and blow a $955 million hole in the region's economic output.
The letter will be sent today and urges officials to give the industry needs "special consideration as it emerges from forced hibernation".
Board chair Finn Vedelsby wants governments to use the next month to rethink the September end date for the $1500 fortnightly wage subsidy and make changes to ensure it can survive.
"This is something we are really concerned about. There's a potential for the 'double whammy' because bank and mortgage payments are expected to resume after September," he said.
The letter will be sent to state and federal representatives and reflects concerns from the 300 groups Bendigo Tourism represents, Mr Vedelsby said.
Bendigo's accommodation and food services' output halved during the crisis, separate research by economic consultancy REMPLAN suggests.
The sector was among those hardest hit in Bendigo by the end of May, after going into the crisis worth $40.9 million in economic output.
It shed more than 1200 jobs, or about a third of all workers in the Bendigo local government area alone, according to that estimate.
Those figures did not necessarily count workers in other sectors who relied on accommodation and food services for income.
The Bendigo Tourism Board believes as many as 4401 direct and indirect jobs across its patch of central Victoria could be in question.
Mr Vedelsby said a recent survey by bank ANZ showed households are replacing what they would spend on visitor economies with shopping and groceries.
"So these sectors have benefited compared to those in tourism," he said.
The industry would not just need JobKeeper to continue, Mr Vedelsby said. It would also need modification so it could keep going for longer.
A lot of businesses are currently losing staff who are on JobKeeper, leaving a void in businesses that cannot afford to replace them, Mr Vedeslby said.
"If the allowance was not for the individual, but for the business, we could replace staff members and still have that support," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is mulling the future of JobKeeper amid concerns the government is "burning through" almost $11 million a month on the subsidies, according to the Australian Associated Press.
He is looking to redirect support towards industries hardest hit by coronavirus and withdraw it from companies quicker to recover.
"There's still a lot of work to do there and that's what we're focused on," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney two days ago.
"There are many moving parts in this, this is not a simple issue."
- With AAP
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