Staff turnover of 1000 makes JobKeeper expansion critical
WITH a staff turnover of more than 1000 people every single year, Hamilton Island's CEO is pushing for an expansion of the JobKeeper payment that would mean new staff could continue their "critical role" in the success of the island.
Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke said 1000 people from the island's 1300 strong workforce typically moved on after one year.
Under the current JobKeeper criteria, only workers employed before July 1, 2020, are eligible for the payment, meaning the transient workforce of the Whitsundays employed after this time would be left without assistance.
The JobKeeper criteria was expanded this morning, however Mr Bourke said the industry would still need further support due to the transient nature of its workforce.
Hamilton Island reopened last weekend after more than four months of lockdown.
During the closure, the island retained about 350 employees and expanded to about 900 ahead of the reopening.
To make up for workers who moved away as a result of the lockdown, a further 150 people were employed.
Mr Bourke said about half of the workers on Hamilton Island were currently receiving the JobKeeper payment,
"As was intended, JobKeeper assistance has kept our employees connected with our business and allowed them to resume their duties as quickly as possible," he said.
"However, it is important to note there is a natural movement of staff in the tourism industry.
"In Hamilton Island's case, we would expect 1000 of our 1300 staff to leave their roles annually in regular operating conditions."
Mr Bourke said the Federal Government support through the payment would naturally shrink as staff left, which was typical in the Whitsunday tourism industry.
"In my opinion, the intention of JobKeeper was to protect businesses and employees, especially those hardest hit," he said.
"While I do not believe the Federal Government has wanted to penalise the tourism industry, unless the criteria is revised, JobKeeper will become progressively less effective."
Mr Bourke suggested the payment should be extended on a "one out, one in" basis.
"The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit, and as many local businesses have rebuilt and worked to reopen their doors, they have been required to employ new staff to fill positions which were vacated by those who have opted not to return," he said.
"Our new employees play a critical role in the ongoing success of Hamilton Island's operations and given the current uncertainty the industry is facing, JobKeeper support is required.
"If JobKeeper allowed for new employees, it would greatly support our workforce and mitigate the further financial impacts the industry is likely to experience in the coming months."
Mr Bourke's calls for an expansion of the JobKeeper program came after the same plea from Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler.
"From our industry here, new employees happen every month," she said.
"So we need an exemption for tourism and hospitality for key areas that are eligible so that new employees are covered.
"It shouldn't just be up until July, the turnover is going to keep happening because of the nature of the sector."