THE end of JobKeeper could have a profound impact on Bendigo's tourism industry, leaders within the sector fear.
It comes as the scheme, which supports businesses to keep employees on the books, enters its final days.
Accommodation providers are among those seeking further support after 12 months of pain, and few opportunities to pivot or recover.
Concern as payments cease
THE pain of the COVID-19 pandemic could leave Bendigo with a very different looking tourism sector, a sector leader has warned.
Bendigo Tourism board chair Finn Vedelsby said there were many different areas within tourism that were going to be rocked when JobKeeper ended on Sunday.
"Some might never recover," Mr Vedelsby said.
He said the damage of the past 12 months had undone decades of work for some business owners.
While JobKeeper had helped keep businesses going - particularly those that had high staffing costs - Mr Vedelsby said it had not countered the damage to trade.
"Taking [JobKeeper] away will be very difficult for many businesses in Bendigo," he said.
Scary was the word Bendigo Motel Association president Kristyn Slattery used to describe operating without support from JobKeeper, from Sunday.
"I kind of feel like we're sitting on a barbed wire fence," Ms Slattery said.
Accommodation providers needed staff, but they also needed to find a way to pay for them.
All of the association's members lost staff at the height of the pandemic, Ms Slattery said.
"Lots of us have been caught short and need housekeepers," she said.
Financial pressures were mounting, with the end of the rent moratorium imminent and rates looming large.
"We're all in a little bit of shock there has been no additional targeted relief for our sector," Ms Slattery said.
She said motel owners didn't have the same options to pivot their businesses that many other industries did in the past 12 months.
The sector was one of the first and hardest affected and the pain was ongoing because of the nature of its business, Ms Slattery said.
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City of Greater Bendigo tourism and major events manager Terry Karamaloudis was concerned about the impact the end of JobKeeper would have on the tourism, hospitality and accommodation sectors.
He believed JobKeeper was a critical layer of support, and its absence would place hospitality and accommodation providers under additional stress. Both sectors were vital for visitor experience, Mr Karamaloudis said.
"You're just going to find venues are going to be under so much additional pressure in terms of their viability," he said.
He believed the city could not afford for providers to be under the kind of pressure where there might be some losses out of the sectors.
Services Australia has encouraged people who need income support after JobKeeper ends to visit servicesaustralia.gov.au
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