Further to our Shareholder Announcement dated 17 March 2020, the Brisbane Markets continues to operate as an essential part of the supply chain for fresh produce. The only activities currently suspended at the site are public entry to the Markets, the Brisbane Night Market and the Sunday Discovery Market. Brisbane Markets Limited (BML) has asked tenant businesses which have experienced a material adverse impact due to COVID-19 to register their requests for a rent waiver/deferral for consideration. The process of BML assessing these requests will occur in accordance with the National Code of Conduct issued by the Federal Government last week. The Code imposes a set of good faith leasing principles between landlords and tenants, where a tenant is an eligible business for the purposes of the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program. It applies to small and medium-sized enterprises with an annual turnover of up to $50 million. BML is developing a policy-based approach to responding to applications received from tenants, which will include meeting the requirements of the Code and will provide a fair and balanced approach for all BML tenants. BML is committed to supporting tenant businesses which have suffered financial stress as a result of COVID-19.
As yet, the financial impact of providing rent waivers on the results of BML are not able to be determined. BML is currently working on providing a range of concessions to its tenants including a combination of rental waiver and deferral, depending on the impact of the downturn in turnover which has occurred. Tenants do need to make an assessment of the impact of which COVID-19 has had on their business and demonstrate that as part of the process of applying for a rental concession. We are working with tenants to assist them through this process.
To date, BML has been impacted across a range of areas including the following:
- suspension of public entry to the Markets;
- the temporary closure of the Brisbane Night Market and the Sunday Discovery Market;
- reduced interest in leasing of commercial and office premises;
- a reduction in service revenue; and
- a reduction in parking revenue.
BML has taken steps to mitigate business risk where possible. However, in light of the increasing uncertainty associated with the impact of COVID-19, BML is not in a position at this time to predict the overall financial impact of these events on its financial performance or position.
Expenditure across a range of areas has been reviewed and prioritised, with a focus on maintaining critical and essential services and the safety of all Market users at this important time. A range of cost cutting initiatives are also now in place. These measures include a review of current staffing levels with salary reductions, standing down of casual staff, staff taking leave, reduced working hours for support staff and in some cases redundancy. We recognise that these difficult decisions do impact the lives of the employees affected, and thank our staff members for their understanding during this period. These changes are essential to ensure that BML can find a balance between supporting its workforce and providing the required level of financial support to our tenants who have experienced a significant reduction in turnover as a result of COVID-19.
For more information regarding this notice, please contact BML on (07) 3915 4200.