An extension of the payroll tax rebate announced in the 2016–17 South Australian Budget will provide much needed reprieve to operators struggling with rising overheads, according to Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA). 

R&CA CEO John Hart says small hospitality businesses continue to struggle with the climbing cost of labour, which in 2014–15 reached 44.2 percent of business expenses.

“R&CA’s 2016 Industry Benchmarking Report saw average wages and staff on-costs rise from 42.2 per cent to 44.2 percent. Prior to 2000, wages represented 29.4 per cent of business expenses. It’s easy to see why labour and staffing costs continue to be the biggest concern for hospitality operators.

 “Operators have been doing it tough, but a budget that is back in the black, offers tax relief and invests in infrastructure will boost confidence,” said Hart.

Deputy CEO Sally Neville said the budget, as well as reform in areas such as liquor licensing, will help to reduce red tape and improve productivity in the workplace.

It comes as the Review of the Liquor Licensing Act was handed down yesterday, providing 129 recommendations for consideration by government.

“It’s pleasing to see the needs of the sector recognised with the establishment of a dedicated licence class. A one-size-fits-all approach to liquor licensing results in increased regulation for what are essentially low-risk venues.

“Reducing administrative red tape and providing operators with the flexibility to serve liquor without a meal will make a huge difference to the sector.

“Operators will be able to offer customers a drink prior to dining or heading out elsewhere without being caught up with license conditions. The sector will be able to better meet the needs of customers,” said Neville.

Neville added further consultation with industry is required to ensure proposed reforms support the industry while addressing community concern. 

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