JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
JOSH FRYDENBERG AND JOBKEEPER: NO PLANS FOR CAIRNS
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg may have arrived in Queensland but he hasn’t packed a plan to support the 8,096 workers and 2,631 businesses in Cairns and Far North Queensland who are expected to lose out when he cuts JobKeeper in just over a fortnight.
What I’ve heard loud and clear from workers and small businesses during my five visits to Cairns is that any support is welcome but there’s no substitute for an extension of JobKeeper.
We’ve known for almost a year that the Cairns economy has been particularly hard hit by the international border closure and that this pain will continue for some time.
Despite having months and months to develop a proper plan to support the Cairns economy, Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison have only added to the anxiety many here are feeling by failing to offer certainty, clarity or confidence about what will happen to those thousands of workers and businesses after March 28.
Nobody is saying that JobKeeper should go on forever, but it should be tailored and targeted to what’s actually going on in communities like Cairns and surrounding areas.
The Morrison Government’s cuts to JobKeeper will make a difficult situation worse and leave parts of regional Queensland behind.
Under Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg millions of taxpayer dollars are more likely to be spent on executive bonuses in Sydney instead of supporting struggling small businesses in Cairns after March.
Only Labor is on the side of the workers and small businesses here in Cairns who still need help recovering from the worst recession in a century - and we’d never leave them behind needlessly in the recovery.
It’s no surprise that fewer Cairns businesses are relying on JobKeeper, but what the Treasurer doesn’t understand is that many are still struggling and require ongoing support because our international border remains closed to visitors.
Of course we’ll be constructive and look at what – if anything – the Morrison Government proposes in the coming days for Far North Queensland beyond March 28, but the clock is ticking.
Local workers and small businesses need to see a plan to responsibly extend JobKeeper and we need to see it now.
MONDAY, 8 MARCH 2021