The closure of cafes, restaurants and hotels across Greater Sydney for an additional four weeks will devastate small food distributors, with revenues already plummeting 70%, the peak industry body says.
The NSW government announced the extension of Greater Sydney’s restrictions on Wednesday, meaning hospitality venues will be restricted to takeaway and delivery service for another month.
The extension of restrictions has sparked calls for industry-specific tax concessions from the Independent Food Distributors Australia (IFDA), which represents small food suppliers across the country.
“The closure of Australia’s hospitality scene has a trickle-down effect on our members who supply these venues,” IFDA chair Richard Hinson said.
Hinson said restaurants and cafes are cancelling their orders for millions of dollars’ worth of perishable food and other goods.
In New South Wales, IFDA members are reporting that revenues are down by as much as 70%.
Recent coronavirus lockdowns in Victoria and South Australia have also contributed to the wastage of tens of thousands of tonnes of perishable goods, Hinson said.
“We call on state and federal treasurers and ministers for small business,” he said.
Specifically, Hinson would like to see the federal government introduce a tax concession similar to last year’s instant asset write-off, which is targeted at businesses in the food distribution sector.
The concession would allow businesses to write-off the cost of wasted perishable goods for tax purposes.
Hinson is also calling for an industry roadmap to reopening that would allow businesses to “plan and ultimately survive the current situation”.
“Our members operate high volume and very low margin wholesale business models, with high fixed overhead expenses,” he said.
The IFDA represents businesses in the independent food distribution sector, which has a collective member purchasing power of $7 billion dollars.
The sector spans businesses across the entire food distribution supply chain, linking local manufacturers, suppliers and farmers, as well as on-selling food to over 100,000 cafes, hotels, clubs and pubs.