Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) said the 2017–18 Tasmanian budget will provide significant improvements to the operating environments of tourism and hospitality businesses throughout the state.

The budget contained a number of measures supporting small businesses including $17.1 million in payroll tax rebates to businesses employing apprentices, trainees and youth as well as $20 million to help reduce the cost of electricity.

“Over 92 percent of Tasmania’s café, restaurant and catering businesses employ nineteen people or less and the Government’s budget measures will help give these business owners exactly the leg-up they need.

“The costs associated with payroll tax and electricity are two of the most common frustrations of business owners in the hospitality sector so a reduction in these costs will provide them with some much-needed relief,” Hart said.

Hart praised the Tasmanian Government’s allocation of $3.2 million to establish Hobart’s Drysdale as a Centre of Excellence for hospitality and $2 million in grants for small businesses who employ new apprentices and trainees.

“The availability of skilled labour is crucial in ensuring that tourism and hospitality businesses can operate efficiently and successfully and the Tasmanian Government’s investment in both the training and employment of apprentices and trainees will pay dividends for the state’s economy.

“Providing business owners with financial incentives to employ apprentices and trainees ensures that these workers can gain the invaluable on-the-job skills and training they need as a step towards a long-term career path within the hospitality sector,” Hart said.

The budget also contained an additional $11 million in marketing funds for Tourism Tasmania to increase visitation levels among international and domestic tourists.

“It’s no accident that Tasmania recorded more than 11 percent growth in the number of visits from international tourists last year.

“The Tasmanian Government has recognised the enormous value of the visitor economy and the $11 million allocated to Tourism Tasmania will go a long way in ensuring that Tasmania continues to draw strong numbers of international and domestic visitors in the future,” Hart said.

The R&CA also responded positively to the federal budget, despite widespread concern among operators about the abolition of the 457 visa category.

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