Governments need to step up and support the NSW alpine industry

Governments need to step up and support the NSW alpine industry Main Image

By Kristy McBain

22 October 2021

Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain is calling on the Australian Government to do more to support the Australian snow industry which is on brink of collapse.

The industry has missed two seasons of trade as a result of COVD lockdowns and restrictions. Ms McBain said these two seasons were crucial in helping the region recover from the bushfires that devastated the summer tourism season in 2019/2020.

“I’ve been working closely with the National Retail Association and Snowsports Industries of Australia and we have serious concerns about the snow industry’s ability to bounce back, especially now that Government support is ending,” Ms McBain said.

“Government mandated lockdowns and restrictions have had a drastic impact on the snow industry and the wider Snowy Mountains communities, therefore it’s incumbent on this government to make sure support continues to flow to businesses who will need to wait at least another six months until they can recoup their losses.

“We’ve seen the Victorian Government step up to support Alpine businesses in Victoria, but no such support has flowed in NSW.

“The Federal and NSW Governments need to work together and urgently establish a joint grant package targeted to the snow industry, because Eden-Monaro can’t afford for this industry to collapse.”

Owner of family business Harro’s Snowsports Sue Harrison said they are doing their best to adapt to the situation but ask the government to consider the unique challenges of restrictions in the region and uncertainty in the industry.

“The last two seasons have seen a significant drop in trade and we have lost over 50% of revenue during the latest lockdowns,” Ms Harrison said.

“Government support payments were not available to us because of the seasonal nature of our industry, forcing us to lay off staff and reduce hours.

“With the state now reopening and ski season having already come to an end, it will not be possible to simply begin trading as normal as we have a long wait to resume trade in mid-May 2022.”

National Retail Association Chief Executive Officer Dominique Lamb said losing two winters in a row had taken a huge emotional toll on business owners and employees.

“The snow industry usually contributes $2 billion to Australia’s economy but Australia’s alpine regions are threatened by around 20,000 job losses if the government fails to provide adequate financial support for the snow industry,” Ms Lamb said.

“While other businesses will adjust to being ‘COVID normal’, snow and alpine-region businesses will need to hold on for at least another six months until their season begins again.”

“The financial and emotional toll on business owners and employees has been immense and many are now on the brink of collapse,” she continued.

Snowsports Industries of Australia Executive Officer Lloyd Green says not only have they lost the winter season, but off-season trade opportunities were also practically non-existent due to the closure of international borders.

“Our off-peak income is highly reliant on catering for travellers heading on northern hemisphere snow adventures, but there is still a huge question mark over whether international border restrictions will allow these trips to occur,” Mr Green said.

“The seasonal nature of our industry and reliance on tourism means we’re faced with far more dire implications than other areas of the retail industry.”