Miriam Vale Hotel publican Mitch Brennan inside the renovated pub. COVID-19 has hit his revenue, but not his determination to make the pub better. Picture: Jodie Healy.
Miriam Vale Hotel publican Mitch Brennan inside the renovated pub. COVID-19 has hit his revenue, but not his determination to make the pub better. Picture: Jodie Healy.

Publican calls for government help after knockback

A LOCAL publican who has been knocked back for government grants is calling for cash injections or tax breaks so businesses can accelerate out of COVID-19.

Miriam Vale Hotel publican Mitch Brennan said his turnover has been slashed by more than 70 per-cent due to the virus.

While he has taken the opportunity to renovate the popular pub, Mr Brennan said many local hospitality businesses have been crippled by the pandemic.

"The renovations had been planned for several years, but we hadn't had a chance to do them, so if there is a silver lining in COVID that's all it has been," he said.

"We could have never afforded to shut everything down like we had to, to do the renovations.

"At the same time my turnover has been down at least 70 per-cent and I have been knocked back on a government grant today, I applied for."

Due to the knock back, Mr Brennan said hospitality businesses such as his need help from the government to launch once restrictions are lifted.

"We'd need some sort of tax break, at least, for a start, but a cash injection would be fantastic," he said.

"Whether its cash injections or some sort of low, or no interest loan, a tax break, as a lot of businesses need some help," he said.

Local tradesmen have been hard at work on the renovations, transforming the hotel.

"I've moved the pool room into the dining room and the dining room out the back...so it will be TAB, Keno, pool and pokies all together, like a sports bar set up and the dining room will now encompass inside and outside dining," Mr Brennan said.

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said the Gladstone region was well positioned, despite COVID-19 impacting many businesses, due to its agriculture and resources sectors.

"The federal Government's JobKeeper package is helping small businesses cover the costs of their employees' wages, so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income," he said.

"Keeping Australians in work and businesses in business will lay the foundations for a stronger economic recovery once the coronavirus crisis passes."

For more information on government grants for businesses visit https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/government-actions/our-economic-recovery-strategy.