Western Australia is at a critical juncture in its economic and social history. The post mining boom has thrown a "super pit" load of challenges for our industry, the state and federal governments and the overall community. How we all tackle and handle these changes over the next three years will continue to define our future and the success of Western Australia as one of the greatest places in the world to live. The AHA(WA) represents an industry that contributes over $6 billion a year to the state economy, with capital assets valued at 10's of billions of dollars, and we have a leadership role to advance our industry and protect your investments.
We can’t ignore the changes to Western Australia’s economy and the repercussions those changes are having for hotel and hospitality businesses. CommSec data released in July 2016 puts WA’s economic performance lower on the table (seventh out of eight) when compared with two years ago, but we are optimistic that there’s opportunity to be found in this new environment. While unemployment and business investment has slowed, WA is ranked third among states and territories in retail spending – up 11.5 per cent on the decade average.
Diversifying our economy is now more crucial than ever before, and now is the time for investment in tourism and destination marketing for WA. We continue to hear from both the State and Federal governments that growing our tourism industry has become more of a focus, and the AHA(WA) will be focusing and increasing our efforts to put marketing of our state and attracting visitors on the top of the agenda.
AHA(WA) has already commenced working productively on key industry issues with the new Federal Government and in particular new ministers who have moved into portfolios relevant to our industry. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced changes on July 19th, with a significant shuffling of frontbenchers. The Hon Steven Ciobo was appointed to Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, while The Hon Keith Pitt moved into the position of Assistant Minister for the portfolio. Other key players include The Hon Michael McCormack, Minister for Small Business and The Hon Alex Hawke, Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, who is involved with the proposal to introduce a new tax on temporary working holiday makers, also known as the ‘backpackers tax’.
We should all be encouraged by the number of new hotel developments in Perth. 4000 more rooms are being added to the market over the next few years to coincide with Premier Colin Barnett’s push to attract larger events to the city and increase the number of visitors from Asia. More room capacity in Perth is a sign that there’s confidence WA can continue to expand its tourism industry and attract both interstate and foreign travellers to the city.
Finally, congratulations to the winners of the 2016 AHA WA Accommodation Awards for Excellence. Congratulations to the 2016 inductee into the AHA Accommodation Hall of Fame, Paul King, CEO of the Seashells Hospitality Group.
While this will obviously be welcomed by the public and the AFL, there is no surprise that there was little industry consultation before making this announcement.
This measure doesnⴠaffect Western Australians, but the overall issue of penalty rates on public holidays is a whole of industry issue and one that is constant on the AHA policy agenda.
The Fair Work CommissionⳠreview of modern awards is ongoing and is due to be completed by mid-2015.
The AHA is fighting for public holiday entitlements that limit the number of public holidays to which penalty rates should be applied to 11 nationally, in line with the recommendations of the Fair Work Act Review Panel.
We also want greater flexibility with respect to part-time hours of work provisions which are extremely inflexible for both the employee and employer and discourage businesses from employing people on a part-time basis.
This is but one of the issues that Bradley Woods and his team worked hard on in 2014. The recent Government response to the Review of the Liquor Control Act has provided some major wins for our sector and also some areas that require further attention.
Allowing hotels, taverns and small bars to trade until midnight every Sunday night is certainly overdue but is a major win for WA tourism and hospitality. Sunday dropped its clusive day of rest' tag years ago and its time the Government lets WA grow up and reach its full potential.
Saying that, there is still plenty of work to do in opposing some of the recommendations, having some implemented sooner rather than later and raising issues of red tape reduction that have been left behind.
Rest assured the AHA will be working hard on this issue on behalf of its members.
Australia and the international sporting community stood together late last year with the sad passing of cricketer, Phillip Hughes. His passing, the result of a freak accident while batting for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield, brought on an overwhelming show of support from around the world.
It was nice to see WA pubs showing their support by participating in the #putoutyourbatscampaign by placing a cricket bat outside their premises as a show of support. Well done.
It was great to celebrate the successes of 2014 with everyone at the AHA Christmas Reception at Matisse Beach Club in Scarborough, the 2014 winner of ᗁⳠBest New Venue⠡t the AHA Awards for Excellence. I hope all AHA members had a merry Christmas and a happy new year. I am looking forward to an even bigger and successful 2015