Australia’s peak accommodation industry body has slammed the government for cancelling schoolies without consulting industry figures.
The Accommodation Association has issued a plea for government at all levels to consult with industry before imposing border closures and travel restrictions.
The plea is in response to the Queensland government’s announcement on Friday that Schoolies would not be going ahead this year.
“The pandemic means we cannot have mass gatherings,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“Parents need to know their children’s safety comes first. We do not want them contracting or spreading COVID-19.”
Dean Long, CEO of the Accommodation Association, said it was critical to get the balance right between protecting lives and protecting jobs.
“Our ask is a simple one: dear government, can we please have some consultation?” Long said.
Long is calling for all levels of government to release their decision-making framework so the industry can better prepare and protect the accommodation sector.
“We need to be consulted especially on decisions with long lead times such as the Schoolies decision in Queensland so that the decisions governments are making incorporate the reality of businesses’ operational needs,” he said.
“Of course, the immediate priority of government is keeping people safe and protecting lives. We get that, but we do need a far more practical and collaborative approach when it comes to the decision-making that impacts businesses, business owners and the people we employ.
“We need to be working far more closely together to better plan for and manage future events and mass gatherings that drive overnight stays, and the solution is a taskforce.”
Palaszczuk said school-leavers should still celebrate their achievements and take advantage of being able to travel throughout the state.
“Schoolies Week doesn’t have to be just one week,” the Premier said.
“We are good to go across Queensland to some of the most beautiful places in the world right here in our own backyard.”
Last week, the Accommodation Association reprimanded the government for its lack of transparency around Travelodge’s removal from NSW’s mandatory quarantine program.
The hotel, located in Surry Hills, was the first hotel to be taken off the NSW government’s list of hotels used to house returning travellers for their mandatory two-week quarantine after multiple customer complaints.
The association said in a statement that there have been no safety breaches that the hotel was notified of and that it was not given the opportunity to remedy the issues behind the guest complaints.