Why Treasurer is ‘out of touch’ with Queenslanders

AT LAST count, more than 240,000 Queensland workers were relying on JobKeeper to put food on the table.

That's around one in 20 Queenslanders.

In 27 days, that all comes to an end. The Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is proving completely out of touch when it comes to the issues affecting Queensland.

JobKeeper will be cut on March 28, putting thousands of businesses and thousands more jobs at risk.

Before the international borders closed, Queensland welcomed around 2.7 million international tourists every year, injecting $6bn into our state's economy.

The Federal Treasurer's failure to extend JobKeeper proves, above all else, what most of us have known for a long time - Queensland is not getting a fair go from Canberra.

I have a simple message for the federal government. It's not too late - extend JobKeeper. Don't cut support in the middle of a pandemic before small businesses have a chance to get back on their feet.

 

Industry leaders and tourism operators have been calling on the Commonwealth to extend JobKeeper for months.

But the turmoil of the tourism industry has fallen on deaf ears in Canberra. The Federal Government is missing in action.

He continues to avoid Queensland and avoid commenting on this issue because he knows it will cost the people of this state dearly.

The Federal Treasurer argues JobKeeper costs too much.

I don't think you can put a price on the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of Queenslanders.

My government is investing more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to support our tourism industry to rebuild and recover.

And I'm working closely with Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe on more targeted support for the tourism industry, particularly in Tropical North Queensland where I know operators are doing it particularly tough right now.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe. Picture: John Gass
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe. Picture: John Gass

I've met with countless tourism operators in recent months to get a better understanding of their challenges.

I encourage the Federal Treasurer to do the same before he cuts JobKeeper on March 28.

Mr Frydenberg should come to Queensland and meet with the tourism industry himself.

If he did, he would know the number one concern for this industry is the end of JobKeeper.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - we're not asking for a blank cheque, we're just asking for Queensland's fair share.

As Premier of this state, I have always acted in the best interests of Queenslanders.

I will never back away from fighting for what I know is best for local businesses and local workers.

I urge Federal Members of Parliament of all persuasions to back Queensland over Canberra and join the fight to extend JobKeeper for the tourism industry.

Annastacia Palaszczuk is Premier of Queensland.

Originally published as Why Treasurer is 'out of touch' with Queenslanders


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