‘Not too late’ Premier’s plea for JobKeeper extension

As the clock counts down to the end of JobKeeper, two states are pleading for an extension to the financial support for their hard-hit tourism and events sectors.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has 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,” she 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 have 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.”

Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the federal government’s discount airfares program “misses the mark”.

“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,” he said.

“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 said they were grateful for the support thus far but more was needed.

“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.”

In Victoria,  the Melbourne Lord Mayor has also called for JobKeeper payments to be extended.

“We would welcome an extension of JobKeeper, or targeted financial support for the sector, from the Commonwealth Government (and) we look forward to the Victorian Government safely increasing capacity limits and allowing 100 per cent of workers to return to the city,” Capp told the Sunday Herald Sun.