Open Letter to Mark McGowan
This letter intends to highlight several areas of severe concern for the Western Australian hospitality industry – while also shining a light on several other ‘sister’ industries including arts, tourism, entertainment and retail.
I own and operate several hospitality venues within the Perth CBD under the Sneakers & Jeans brand banner, including Pirate Life Perth, Caballitos, The Flour Factory, Goody Two’s, Hadiqa, TOMA and Varnish on King.
Up until recently, my businesses employed 150+ staff. Sadly, more than 70% of our workforce had to be stood down last month due to significant downturn in trade as a result of WA’s COVID-19 alarmism, restrictions, confusion, uncertainties and inconsistent directions. In addition, there are added costs to manage and enforce the government restrictions and mandates. How long are we expected to continue in this vain? It is impossible to sustain the current situation which is causing considerable distress and other consequences.
In business, if we can clearly understand what we are up against and what we are required to do – we can at least plan and attempt to address some of the consequences. We then have an opportunity to manoeuvre, pivot, make changes – but more importantly we, as employers, can support and empower staff, colleagues, peers, friends, family etc.
Clear direction is critical. Transparency is key. Consultation is essential. None of this is happening.
Since late December 2020 we have been blindly navigating the crippling impact this pandemic and restrictions are having on our industries which have been major contributors to the culture, community and the economy of WA.
Businesses in the hospitality and related industries in WA have invested hundreds of millions of dollars and decades of resources into developing world-class services and facilities for the benefit of the whole State, but as of yet we have:
NO dates around border reopening
NO dates for actioning close contact redefinition
NO offer of financial support for businesses affected in 2022
NO offer to cover the costs of managing the government restrictions and mandates
NO offer of financial support for our staff that are out of work due to the impacting loss of trade / business interruption (or closure)
NO visibility of a roadmap to navigate us through the impacted downturn
Premier, we are asking for proper consultation and answers. Please.
We desperately need direction, clarity, support and transparency in terms of the Government’s “plan” for the State’s valuable hospitality and related industries.
Tell us how these industries can survive.
Businesses need to be able to confidently work to strengthen and rebuild our industries, staff and consumer confidence and national and international profile.
There is a very real risk that many businesses will close soon – either by reluctant choice as the easier option, or permanently forced to do so due to financial losses.
We look forward to hearing from you urgently. Hopefully before any more irreparable damage is done to our beloved industries that provide much of the character and history of Western Australia and hopefully before the road to recovery gets any longer, harder – or worse still, unattainable.
CEO – Sneakers & Jeans Hospitality Group
Eamon Sullivan: Owner / operator of Bib & Tucker, Pogo, Goody Two’s
John Parker: Owner / operator of The Standard, The Royal Hotel, Fleur, Willy’s
Laurie Thorpe: State Manager – Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group
Miles Hull: Managing Director – Dark Horse Hospitality Group
Paul Aron: Owner / operator of Mary Street Bakery, TINYS, Offshoot Coffee Roaster & Café