BENDIGO businesses would be better helped by a financial support system designed like JobKeeper rather than the current disaster payments, industry figures say.
They said a scheme similar to JobKeeper would help strengthen the ties between workers and their employer, while making financial support easier to access for workers.
Bendigo Heritage Attractions chief executive James Reade said a wage subsidy such as JobKeeper would help staff get back to work quicker than the current system, which was more of a disaster payment.
Mr Reade said Heritage Attractions was appreciative of the current business support system as a safety net for thousands, but said the lessons from JobKeeper were important.
He said the business had been able to continuously engage with staff, finding work for them where it was safe, because of the structure of JobKeeper.
Mr Reade said this meant Heritage Attractions could connect with its staff, keep an eye on them, and train them as well.
The Victorian Tourism Industry Council has made similar calls in July, saying the industry needed a national solution to carry business through until vaccination rollout achieved pace and scale.
Council chief executive Felicia Mariani said tourism, hospitality and events did not snap back when lockowns ended.
Ms Mariani said the Delta variant was a national crisis, requiring sustained, national business support measures to run until the end of 2021.
Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said she supported calls for a JobKeeper-style system, saying the concept was right.
Ms Chesters said entertainment, hospitality, arts and tourism desperately needed support, as conditions in 2021 were just as bad as in 2020.
She said the JobKeeper style system encouraged businesses to stay open, and keep finding work for people where it was safe to do so.
Ms Chesters said it also kept the link strong between employer and employee, also making it easier to access financial support.
She said the JobKeeper structure also helped support business in the period after restrictions eased, when trade was still slow.
"I'm really annoyed that the Prime Minister and the Treasurer keep pretending like 2021 is better than 2020," Ms Chesters said.
"It's just as hard, and our businesses are doing it just as tough, our workers are doing it just as tough. We want them to be there in 2022 and the government should be there to support them."
Treasury referred the Bendigo Advertiser to comments made by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in July when approached for comment.
Mr Morrison was quoted as saying the disaster payment scheme was faster, more effective and more targeted.
"We're not dealing with a pandemic outbreak across the whole country. When we did JobKeeper, we had to employ it across the whole country all at once and we did it for six months," he said.
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