Illawarra business shows shutdown impact on local economy

Prominent Illawarra employer Kollaras & Co has joined businesses voicing their support for a carefully planned revival of domestic cruise operations, as ongoing suspensions continue to wipe billions of dollars from the Australian economy.

John Kollaras, Managing Director of the Albion Park-based beverage wholesaler, has had to cut staff and rationalise operations since cruise ships stopped sailing in March.

The 60-year-old family-owned company is the latest to be featured in CLIA’s #WeAreCruise video series, which highlights the economic impact suffered by local businesses and the 25,000 jobs that are at risk across Australasia while the cruise industry remains at anchor.

In a video released today, John explains how businesses along the cruise industry supply chain have been impacted and their need for certainty in the future.

“I think clarity is what everybody requires – a plan, a framework, so that everyone can collaborate, from government through to the downstream suppliers like us, to make sure we can restart this industry and get people cruising again,” he says in the video.

CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said cruise lines had committed to extensive new health measures to support future operations, and that it was now vital to plan for a phased and carefully controlled resumption of local cruising.

“Cruising ordinarily contributes more than $5 billion a year to the Australian economy, but thousands of jobs are now at risk while cruise ships aren’t operating,” Mr Katz said. “While the suspension of cruising has been the right response to COVID-19, it’s important that we plan a pathway towards resumption with extensive health measures in place, so that we can restore economic opportunities to regional areas and other communities around our coast.”

The Kollaras & Co video is one of several to be released on social media by CLIA as part of a campaign that aims to raise awareness and tell the personal stories of people within the Australasian cruise community.

“Australia’s success in stemming the transmission of COVID-19 means we have an opportunity for a controlled reintroduction of domestic cruises - restricted to Australian residents only and with extensive testing and screening measures in place,” Mr Katz said. “The health measures cruise lines have committed to globally means we should open a pathway towards resumption so that thousands of Australian businesses like John’s can begin planning for their revival.”

The video can be viewed on YouTube and Facebook.

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