The Star Entertainment Group is the latest company to stand down a majority of its staff, suspending some 8000 workers amid the shut down measures of all non-essential businesses.
In its response to the federal government’s Covid-19 nation-wide shutdowns that commenced Monday, the gaming giant said the closing of its casino properties would “have a material impact on The Star’s operations”, with the major staff cuts to include senior management.
“As an immediate measure, The Star has taken a very difficult, but necessary, decision in relation to its workforce,” Star group said in its Wednesday statement.
The ASX-listed group said it was in the process of “temporarily standing down over 90 per cent” of its approximate 9,000 employees, with its board and senior management to “also forego a percentage of entitled directors’ fees and salaries”.
The Star has casino operations in Queensland and New South Wales, including The Treasury casino in Brisbane, and The Star on the Gold Coast, as well as The Star Sydney.
The Star Group is also part of a joint venture partnership with Chow Tai Fook and Far East on the $3 billion Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development, and its hotel and apartment tower currently under construction at the Gold Coast.
While there’s been uncertainty as to what is and isn't deemed “essential” over the past few days of official announcements, the Star Group confirmed with The Urban Developer that both projects at Queen’s Wharf Brisbane and the Dorsett hotel tower on the Gold Coast are continuing, “with no interruption to timelines”.
The listed group said it had available cash or undrawn committed debt facilities of $480 million, as of 24 March.
“We have incredible people at The Star and huge potential. We are also confronting, like the rest of society, an unprecedented challenge in the COVID-19 situation,” chief exec Matt Bekier said.
Australia’s unemployment currently stands at 5.1 per cent, but this is expected to soar in the near future, as the health and economic crisis continues.
Virgin Australia has stood down 8000 of its workers in its response to Covid-19. The airline announced it has for now suspended its subsidiary Tigerair.
Images were quick to emerge of growing lines outside Centrelink on Monday, following the prime minister’s first shut down announcement.
Further details of the Star’s staff reductions will be announced in the coming days once the necessary stand downs across all levels of the business are finalised.
The group closed its casinos along with food and beverage services as of Monday, while its hotel accommodation remains open, at a reduced capacity.