QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has again urged the federal government to rethink its plan to axe JobKeeper amid fears thousands of Sunshine State workers could lose their jobs in the coming months.
The coronavirus support payment will come to an end on March 28, cutting off support to 172,000 Queenslanders who are relying on the supplement.
It comes amid new data from the Australian Tax Office which shows more than $83 million dollars will be ripped out of the state’s economy every week once the JobKeeper payments finish.
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Ms Palaszczuk has again urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to extend support for tourism operators in communities hardest hit by international border closures.
“It’s now less than two weeks until JobKeeper comes to an end. But it’s not too late for the Prime Minister to do the right thing,” the Premier said.
“I’m urging the Prime Minister and the Federal Treasurer to extend JobKeeper beyond March 28 for industries hardest hit by international border closures.
“The Commonwealth has made it clear – it won’t be safe to reopen our international borders until at least the middle of next year.
“Without more targeted support for our tourism industry, we’ll see thousands of jobs lost in Cairns, the Whitsundays and the Gold Coast.
“The support the Federal Government announced last week was good – but it’s not enough and it won’t go to those who are most in need.
“It won’t help the small, mum and dad businesses that are some of our biggest employers here in Queensland.
“The message is clear and simple. It’s not too late – extend JobKeeper now.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said tourism businesses exposed to the closure of the international border had been let down badly by the Federal Government.
“While the Prime Minister’s half-price airfares are welcome, the package misses the mark,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Tourism operators have been strung along by Federal Government promises of targeted assistance after JobKeeper, but the reality is the targeted income help only benefits international airlines.
“Other tourism operators, such as reef tour boats, will struggle to keep their staff on beyond the JobKeeper switch off.
“Queensland tourism businesses need certainty and the ‘ticket to recovery’ the Federal Government said it would deliver.”
Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind threw his support behind the campaign to encourage the Federal Government to extend JobKeeper for the tourism industry.
“We are grateful for the support for airlines and aviation promised by the Federal Government,” he said.
“But the reality is – the majority of tourism businesses in Queensland are small businesses. And this support will not deliver them the urgent support they need now.
“An extension of a cash support program until international borders are able to be reopened would be a lifeline for thousands of businesses throughout the state that will be at risk from March 28.
“I encourage the Prime Minister to announce more targeted support for our industry before the end of the month to give certainty to Queensland businesses.”