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03 March 2020 – PM calls to negotiate on rent relief and advises we need to stay home this Easter…

Commercial tenancies

The Prime Minister announced today that a mandatory code of conduct would be imposed on commercial and retail tenants and the National Cabinet was working towards conditions for this code.  Under this code of practice, if a landlord and tenant cannot agree, both parties would enter mediation.

Further details on commercial tenancy discussions and the principles that guide this code are available via the Prime Minister’s update from today.

The Prime Minister said that where businesses have been affected by coronavirus, landlords and tenants are encouraged to negotiate in good faith, in the hope they can reach an agreeable position for both parties. The Prime Minister stated that if a business has not had a reduction in their business turnover, their leasing arrangements should not change. In addition, while there was a moratorium on evictions, businesses are still responsible for the payment of their rent.

For businesses that are experiencing desperate times and are unsure if they can wait for JobKeeper payments to come, the Prime Minister urged that those businesses need to contact their bank immediately.

Working Holiday Visas

Those on holiday visas including backpackers travelling to farms for fruit-picking and other jobs will also be forced to self-isolate for 14 days to avoid spreading the coronavirus. Working holiday-makers will have to register that they are in quarantine with the government.

Once the self-isolation period is completed, employers must check workers documentation prior to the commencement of any work.

These measures have been put in place to protect rural and regional areas, yet address concerns regarding labour shortages for essential work.

The Prime Minister was clear that social distancing rules continue to apply and commented, “You can’t have six backpackers in a caravan, up out in rural parts of the country. That’s not on. Not going to happen,”.

Easter celebrations including leisure activities

The Prime Minister reiterated that people should not be travelling for the Easter holidays.

In addition, the Premier confirmed in his press conference that all recreational pursuits except basic exercise are banned. Activities such as golf, fishing, hunting and camping are not allowed.  Read more in this Herald Sun article.

Premier’s update including new Victorian Crisis Council of Cabinet

The Premier announced a new crisis council of cabinet that includes the Hon. Martin Pakula MP, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events.

Whilst announcing the new cabinet, the Premier was questioned on the Prime Minister’s earlier update regarding commercial tenancies.  He indicated that he is looking into opportunities to incentivise worst affected businesses and businesses that are participating in the JobKeeper Program. Further details on this are to come from the Premier in future announcements.

Kind regards,

Felicia Mariani
Chief Executive

Visit vtic.com.au/coronavirus for key information available including support and funding, and information specific to the tourism industry.

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