A prominent restaurateur has taken aim at multiple levels of government for failing to support the hospitality in a blunt newspaper ad.
A prominent restaurateur has taken aim at multiple levels of government for failing to support the hospitality in a blunt newspaper ad.

Melbourne restaurateur’s brutal virus ad

A prominent Melbourne restaurateur has taken out a newspaper ad taking aim at multiple levels of governments' "shameful" coronavirus response.

The owner of reputable St Kilda restaurant Di Stasio Citta, Rinaldo Di Stasio, placed the ad in The Australian calling out authorities for abandoning the hospitality industry in its time of need.

In the full-page ad, which features a blunt open letter, Mr Di Stasio said while the hospitality industry is a major employer and economic contributor, other than JobKeeper, it has not received any other material support.

In his withering rebuke of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Scott Morrison, Mr Di Stasio said outside the wage subsidy payments, financial support remained "nearly non-existent".

"The neglect of temporary visa workers, skilled taxpaying members of our workforce is not only shameful, it will cripple hospitality and tourism moving forward," he wrote in the ad.

Photo of Ronnie Di Stasio with his partner Mallory Wall at their new restaurant Di Stasio Citta in Melbourne on Friday 8 February 2019.Photo Luis Enrique Ascui
Photo of Ronnie Di Stasio with his partner Mallory Wall at their new restaurant Di Stasio Citta in Melbourne on Friday 8 February 2019.Photo Luis Enrique Ascui

In his rallying cry to protect restaurants, cafes and bars brought to their knees as a result of the pandemic, Mr Di Stasio went on to outline a five-point plan.

It included extending JobKeeper at the full rate of $1500 to Victorians beyond the September deadline, and for temporary visa holders, who can form the bulk of staff in many hospitality workplaces.

Currently, these workers are shut out from the JobKeeper and Jobseeker programs.

"Our temporary visa holders have had the bone pointed at them," the restaurant's recent Instagram post read, reiterating that neglecting these "skilled workers" will severely impact the industry.

 

Rinaldo said the neglect of skilled tax payers is not only ‘shameful’, it will ‘cripple hospitality and tourism moving forward’. Picture Rebecca Michael.
Rinaldo said the neglect of skilled tax payers is not only ‘shameful’, it will ‘cripple hospitality and tourism moving forward’. Picture Rebecca Michael.

 

RELATED: How the virus is hitting restaurants

Mr Di Stasio said politicians, those in government and those in opposition need to adapt to a "new normal" for governance.

"Jobs for the boys, zero accountability and preferential treatment all need to stop. It is becoming increasingly obvious how political agendas have failed us," Mr Di Stasio said.

 

Rinaldo took an ad out in The Australian over the government’s ‘shameful COVID-19 response. he said the letter was a ‘cry for help’ at the industry’s time of need. Picture: The Australian
Rinaldo took an ad out in The Australian over the government’s ‘shameful COVID-19 response. he said the letter was a ‘cry for help’ at the industry’s time of need. Picture: The Australian

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Mr Di Stasio has been involved in discussions with government bodies on the future of the hospitality industry and while he said conversations have resulted in "nothing", he will continue to "fight".

"I recognise the fact that we must focus our energy on combating COVID-19 but we must also begin to plan for the future, a future that has a 'new normal', a 'Covid Normal'."

An industry veteran with more than 40 years experience, Mr Di Stasio said the letter was a "cry for help".

 

 

 

"I am worried beyond measure that the industry I love is facing total ruin. I invite our leaders and you to come to the table and make a positive contribution," he said.

"Do we want to see an industry dominated by soulless corporate owned venues with no character or individuality?"

In addition to a return of JobKeeper to the full rate, Mr Di Stasio said pressure should be applied to the banks, to ensure cash flowed back into the economy. He also called for the abolishment of the Federal Government's fringe benefits tax and the Victorian Government's payroll tax.

 

Originally published as Melbourne restaurateur's brutal virus ad


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