The Tasmanian Hospitality Association (THA) has said the closure of the Boag’s visitor centre could have been avoided if the State Government had listened and acted on advice about issues at the Launceston-based brewery.

Lion announced yesterday that it will be closing the Boag’s visitor centre at the end of January because of declining beer consumption, rising costs and the impacts of COVID-19 on hospitality and tourism.

“Sadly, this will result in some job impacts at the Boag’s Visitor Centre,” Lion said in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful to these team members who have warmly hosted visitors and shared their passion for Boag’s with locals and tourists alike.

“We will be working with those impacted to offer our support, including through redeployment opportunities within the Lion business where possible.”

However, THA CEO Steve Old said despite Premier Jeremy Rockliff releasing a statement this morning saying he was “disappointed at this decision”, it is one which should not have happened. He said that both Lion and the THA have been in dialogue with the Government over many years about the struggles the brewery was facing.

“The Premier can allude to being blindsided by the closure of the Boag’s visitor centre but this is far from the truth,” Old said.

“We flagged the struggles the visitor centre was facing on several occasions with State Government ministers, but they chose to ignore our concerns.

“The facts are the impacts from two years of Covid-19, coupled with rising costs associated with beer – the federal government implemented a tax hike of four per cent last August in the biggest jump in 30 years, plus rising energy costs, freight costs as well as the government ignoring industry advice on the CDS scheme they are going to implement that will put beer prices up for consumers – has put a monumental strain on hospitality businesses.

“And to top everything off, TasWater only yesterday announced it is targeting some of Launceston’s biggest industrial groups, including Boag’s, to charge full costs for treating trade waste they generate.

“The Premier can say he is disappointed with the decision from Lion, but we are appalled at his refusal to act when he had the chance. His office was advised of this yesterday and did nothing, yet today, they come out swinging saying they were blindsided which is totally untrue.

“I have said to governments of all persuasions for many years that they need to take an active interest in working with the breweries. They are iconic to Tasmania but face many challenges year on year, and it would be far easier and cheaper to move them interstate to skip the freight and transport costs.

“I’m sure other governments around the country would jump at having one of our breweries move to their state and would offer whatever assistance they could to them and their staff.”

Lion said there would be no changes to brewing operations at Boag’s but it will impact two permanent and 11 casual employees.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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