Sydney, 26th August 2020
Dr Fiona Martin MP
Member for Reid
Dear Dr Martin,
As you are no doubt aware from correspondence from your constituents, COVID-19 has had a devastating effect to both the social fabric and the economy of our country.
My business is a clear example of this and unfortunately the success of our recovery is completely reliant on both the State and Federal Governments. Whilst my business is located in the Sydney CBD, I reside in the electorate of Reid so thought my correspondence should be directed to you. I have no objection with you forwarding this communication to other members of parliament should you feel it warranted.
By way of context, The Maxim’s Group (TMG) consists of 5 separate divisions employs 17 extremely proud Australians and has been in business since 1985. TMG is a travel management company assisting our corporate clients with logistical support with their travel arrangements, event management requirements and their holiday plans.
I have been with TMG for the last 32 years and have led our team since 2005. I can categorically say without any sense of equivocation that the current COVID-19 situation is quite seriously the largest challenge my business and our industry has ever faced.
At the outset, I would very much like to congratulate Prime Minister Morrison and the Government for their leadership and support of the business community. The JobKeeper initiative has saved countless jobs no more so than in my own company. This fortnightly payment has ensured that all my staff remain exactly that – staff. On behalf of TMG – thank you.
The JobKeeper subsidy is due for transition to a new model towards the end of September and the common threshold has been that businesses need to show a 30% decrease in their turnover compared to previous periods. I would like to highlight that my business has been reduced by 98% and this can directly be attributed to both the Federal and State Governments closing borders.
The health of all Australians is paramount and strict health protocols are understandable, however the arbitrary way that state governments open and close borders, constantly move the goal posts for what triggers a closure and the political posturing by state leaders MUST STOP.
In addition, the Federal Government must put forward a plan of opening the international borders. It has recently been announced that New Zealand and Singapore have come to an arrangement where travel between their two countries will be permitted without any mandatory quarantining period. I put it to you that the infection rates in those countries are very similar to that of ours and as such, what would preclude Australia coming to similar arrangements?
Going into business is a risk at the best of times and TMG’s success is in no part due to strong fiscal management, innovative solutions and an amazing team of professionals dedicated to both TMG and our client base. What is extremely worrying is that our future success or failure now lay completely in the hands of the Federal and State Governments.
We really must open our domestic and international borders without delay to facilitate the movement of business and the survival of the travel, tourism and aviation industries.
Our industry is adaptable having dealt with previous perilous issues such as SARS, the Ansett collapse and the 9-11 tragedy and through all these issues, we have survived. We are indeed hopeful we will survive this.
This survival though is contingent on continued government support. Whilst JobKeeper goes a substantial way in assisting TMG, greater support is necessary. As mentioned, our business, like many of my industry colleagues, is 98% down yet the monthly expenses of running a business continue – regardless of how much hibernating we do.
TMG encourages both the Federal and all State Governments to view the travel, tourism and aviation industries through a different lens and to provide mechanisms for additional business support. As mentioned, until borders are open, Governments of all persuasions are inhibiting the opportunity for our industry to exist.
The travel industry alone employs around 40 000 people of which the majority (in excess of 70%) are women and it is therefore critical that our industry survives this current pandemic. Once borders are open, we can stand on our “own two feet” but until that time, on behalf of my team, and the entire industry, I implore the government to support us.
I am more than willing to discuss further at your convenience and in the meantime, I wish you and your family continued good health.
Sydney, 26th August 2020