Trad says Treasury will step in to aid devastated NQ casino

Wednesday 25th March 2020

QUEENSLAND Treasury will work closely with Townsville's devastated Ville Resort-Casino to ensure it is in the "best possible shape" once it is allowed to reopen, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has declared.

Ms Trad, outlining the State Government's coronavirus pandemic $3 billion business support package, yesterday said the Townsville community had suffered "knock after knock", in reference to the hardships faced by the city in recent years including the closure of Queensland Nickel, the 2019 flood catastrophe, and the mining downturn.

The Ville Resort-Casino was one of the first victims of the economically crippling COVID-19 pandemic, with chief executive Michael Jones revealing that he had no choice but to shut the hotel and shed 600 jobs in response to increasingly draconian measures implemented to slow the spread of the disease.

This was a "stark demonstration" of how quickly COVID-19 impacts could hit, Townsville MP Scott Stewart said.

The State Government yesterday announced an extra $2.5 billion on top of a $500,000 loan facility set up last week, to cushion the blow to small and medium businesses.

The measures include an immediate refund to small and medium sized business of their February and March payroll tax to give them cash flow now, while more than 12,000 businesses will qualify for a tax holiday for the next three months.

"Our package ... is about supporting industry and businesses right across our state. So I have asked Treasury to reach out to The Ville," Ms Trad said.

"They have had a significant investment in their business and it looks fantastic and I hope they make it through these difficult times."

Townsville Enterprise, which has been lobbying for government stimulus since last week, welcomed the measures but acknowledged some small and medium-sized operators wouldn't qualify for payroll tax help.

"Every bit counts and this is hard cash off the bottom line for many businesses that will help ease some pressure in an exceptionally devastating period for our business community," chief executive Patricia O'Callaghan said.

"We do acknowledge that several of our small to medium-sized operators don't pay payroll tax or are sole traders and their needs will therefore need to be considered in the development of future initiatives."

Originally published as Trad says Treasury will step in to help The Ville casino

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