Merivale boss Justin Hemmes calls for return of JobKeeper

Merivale boss Justin Hemmes has called for a return of JobKeeper during Sydney’s latest lockdown which has seen hospitality businesses forced to close once again.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Hemmes said the industry won’t survive continued lockdowns without financial help.

“Without a JobKeeper 3.0 the industry cannot survive continued lockdowns,” he said.

“The hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit in the pandemic. We are the first ones to close and often the last to open. It has been three weeks of closures already.”

Hemmes said the JobKeeper program, which was axed in March, was a “tried and tested mechanism” that allowed businesses to stay afloat during lockdowns.

“We need to see it returned in order to support staff and business,” he said.

Hemmes is not alone in wanting to see a return of the program, with NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet previously been knocked back by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg when he asked for an extension of JobKeeper.

The Federal Government’s help to date for the latest lockdown was to open disaster relief payments of up to $600 per week for workers who have had their hours cut more than 20 hours a week.