Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Survival of the smartest?
I wear multiple hats in our industry, I am a developer, owner and operator of bars, restaurants and hotels. As a B.Comm (Uni. Melb.) and 1/2 a Masters in e-Business (RMIT), I consider myself relatively educated. I have been studiously reading, in attempt to decipher, all government dispatches, professional interpretations and media articles on JobKeepers, tax refunds and bank loan opportunities. I am officially ‘stumped’.
JobKeepers is a very generous scheme that may keep our industry on life support. However, I am still required to pay PAYG and Super. I have retained staff in a business that has ‘enjoyed’ a nominal drop in costs and a 95% drop in turnover. JobKeeper’s Super contributions for 6 months amounts to $1,852.50 per employee. Employees still accumulate leave and receive ‘Days in Lieu’ for Public Holidays. It’s no wonder that many have opted out, ’shut up shop’ and directed their workers to queue up at Centrelink or wrestle with MyGov for a spot on JobSeekers. I fear more closures and that unemployment rates will grow further once businesses digest the intricacies of the scheme. I am still required to pay taxes. I still pay some rent, despite profitability calculated in multiples of negative. I pay COD for the suppliers that will still deliver and chip away at supplier accounts payable that are hurting as badly. I still pay utilities. I still pay transaction costs. I still pay 10 people through this period of various nationalities, despite the fact that some are exempt from the scheme. It’s tough on them. Its tough on me. I don’t want to think how tough it could get if the music stops for good.
Drop in the ocean
Payroll Tax refunds are welcomed. The whole concept of a tax on a payroll of a business that pays tax and superannuation on behalf of people who pay tax and receive penalty rates for turning up to work is mind boggling and should become extinct. Liquor license fee refunds are welcomed, but won’t go far. The reality of maintaining a ‘going concern’ with no or immaterial trade is setting in. There is additional investment, cost and price pressure attached to reinvent your business model to become a takeaway business. It is not profitable for most and, unless we tip more in on or call our bank, the money will run out.
My business has no bank debt. None. I have tried them all and been volleyed around departments and personnel over my 24 years in the caper. I prefer not to add a further cost of doing business where margins are already paper thin. That said, I need it now. To keep my business, my people and the small part I play in our grand industry alive. The government has announced it will secure up to $250k to businesses, like ours, to stay afloat. I don’t know about you, but I tried once through a hotline and gave up after an hour (I mourn the day when I had a bank manager). I was ‘fortunate’ enough to utilise my contacts and find a mobile number. I had a conversation. Yep, that’s it, a conversation. No follow up, no application underway, no request for further information, no clarification, no clear process and no detail. Stay tuned.