$465 million Victorian Tourism Recovery Package – Wednesday 19 November

The Andrews Government has today announced an astonishing $465 million tourism package as part of the upcoming 2020-21 Victorian State Budget.

The funding package sees hundreds of millions of dollars invested in what the industry has identified as ‘game-changing’ infrastructure development to drive visitation across the state, an area where Victoria has fallen woefully behind our major competitors in other states.

Key highlights of the package include:

  • $58 million over three years to provide a marketing boost for Visit Victoria to promote the state’s appeal to Victorians and, beyond our borders, to all Australians.
  • $9.7 million boost to the Business Events Program.
  • $28 million to support a regional voucher scheme- 120,000 vouchers worth $200 will be available to entice more people to visit and stay in regional Victoria. (Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Ranges will be able to participate in this program.)
  • $20 million for the renewal of the Regional Events Fund for continuous support of blockbuster events outside Melbourne.
  • $150 million that will support implementation of a Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund, along with nature-based, First Nations, arts and culture, and food and wine tourism projects.
  • $47.5 million to improve visitor infrastructure along the Great Ocean Road, including the first three stages of a signature coastal walking trail along the coastline and hinterland from Fairhaven to Skenes Creek.
  • $80 million for better visitor facilities at iconic locations across Victoria, including the Grampians National Park, Alpine National Park, Cape Conran Coastal Park, the Mallacoota Inlet and at the Point Hicks Lighthouse near Croajingolong National Park.
  • $23 million to build a new visitor centre at Wilsons Promontory and establish a 50,000-hectare biodiversity sanctuary.
  • $18.5 million toward the Gippsland Tourism Recovery Package for new accommodation and improvements to the East Gippsland Rail Trail.
  • $15 million for works on the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing hiking trail; $13 million to deliver trailheads on the Grampians Peak Trail and visitor upgrades at Mackenzie Falls; and $4.3 million to enable the continued growth of the Prosecco Road in the King Valley, including establishing accommodation at Dal Zotto Wines.
  • $52 million will also go to Parks Victoria to upgrade sites at Albert Park, Braeside Park, Brimbank Park, Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Organ Pipes, Plenty Gorge, Point Cook, and other locations around the state- delivering new walking trails, new picnic tables and new barbecues.

The announcement today has been magnificent for regional Victoria, and the strong investment will ensure the state’s visitor economy has the very best chance of not just recovering, but actually thriving and growing over the next three years.

There remains, however, the need to bolster the urgent recovery of Melbourne in this mix. All projections have indicated the challenges facing Melbourne’s recovery would mean much slower progress than that of regional areas, given its reliance on international and interstate visitation, major events and business events.

The interstate marketing activity that will be undertaken by Visit Victoria as part of their funding announcement today will naturally have a focus on Melbourne in that mix. As well, on 9 November, $17.2 million was announced to support cultural offerings occurring in new outdoor settings, most of which would focus on Melbourne venues and spaces.

There remains the need to see conversion work happening for Greater Melbourne, particularly to support our struggling hotel sector that’s operating at 25% occupancies, at a time when they should be experiencing 75-85% occupancy levels.

The formation of the Greater Melbourne Tourism Recovery Forum that was announced today will be a critical first step in mapping out what’s needed to set the city on its road to recovery.

The announcements by the Premier today were focused on regional Victoria, but the full budget will not be handed down until Tuesday 24 November. We are hopeful that we will see further announcements that speak directly to the tourism and events needs VTIC has positioned for Greater Melbourne in that mix.

To view the Premier’s media release, click here and to read VTIC’s media statement, click here.

Small Business Digital Adaptation Program

The $20 million Small Business Digital Adaption Program is now open to help small businesses, sole traders and micro-businesses build digital capability in their day-to-day operations.

Through the program, eligible businesses will be able to trial and then receive access to digital products, tools and training they can use to build digital capability in their day-to-day operations. Products currently available to businesses through this program include website, e-commerce, finance and digital business management tools.

Program guidelines, full details on eligibility and how to register are available on the Business Victoria website. Registrations will remain open until funds are exhausted or until 11.59pm on 28 February 2021, whichever is earlier.

Third Round of the Business Support Fund and Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund are closing next Monday 23 November 2020.

For more information:

JobKeeper Extension Webinars

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is running online sessions on the new rules for the JobKeeper Scheme which has been extended until 28 March 2021.

Click here to register and for a full list of the ATO’s webinars, click here.