Call for clarity on the future of JobKeeper payments in CQ
CONCERNS have been raised that Central Queensland's businesses and workers could be adversely impacted by a scaling back of the $70 billion JobKeeper payments scheme.
The Labor Party is pressuring the Federal Government to ensure there was continuing support during economic recovery process.
The JobKeeper Payment scheme was launched by the government as a temporary wage subsidy to support employees and businesses significantly affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) with eligible employers, sole traders and other entities receiving $1,500 per eligible employee per fortnight.
Due to the temporary nature of the scheme (which was due to wind up on September 27), there has been political debate over the best way to scale it back without doing it too quickly or leaving unsupported sectors vulnerable.
A Labor Party spokesperson said in Queensland, up to 171,136 businesses and organisations received JobKeeper which could mean about 650,317 workers may be forced into unemployment and up to $975 million could be ripped out of the Queensland economy each and every fortnight if the Coalition Government withdrew JobKeeper support too early.
"In regional Queensland, the same estimates indicate that the wage subsidy scheme is a lifeline for many communities with up to 4,371 businesses in Central Queensland (Rockhampton, Emerald, Gladstone) employing 16,610 workers on JobKeeper," the spokesperson said.
"These workers could be forced into unemployment and up to $25m could be ripped out of the Central Queensland economy each and every fortnight if the Federal Government withdraws JobKeeper support too early."
According to Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Treasury had completed its review of the $70 billion JobKeeper program and the government was now in the process of "carefully and methodically" considering it.
"As the Treasurer has said he will outline the outcomes of the review and the next steps in our economic plan at the July 23 fiscal and economic update," Ms Landry said.
"We have been clear all along that the measures we are putting in place are temporary, targeted and scalable.
"We gave ourselves six months with our initial response to ensure we could carefully plan the next step that goes beyond September. The Treasurer is making an economic statement on July 23 which will outline those next steps."
On the other side of this crisis, Ms Landry said their core principles would remain in place.
"Which is that our social security system must support people back into the workforce, be targeted to those most in need and be sustainable to ensure it remains in place for future generations," she said.
"Before this crisis we were successfully putting in place the settings to create jobs and drive unemployment down which saw the rate of welfare dependence the lowest in three decades. "We have a huge task ahead of us but we can do it again."
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Australia was in the grip of a deep and painful recession, creating devastating outcomes for families.
"Australians need to know now what (Prime Minister) Scott Morrison intends to do when JobKeeper ends in two months," Mr Albanese said.
"Mr Morrison has already excluded more than a million Australians from JobKeeper.
"He must not make things even worse for Australian families and businesses by withdrawing support to soon."
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said Mr Morrison was adding to the uncertainty by delaying the release of his JobKeeper review.
"This outbreak and these necessary new restrictions make it even more important that the Government clarify the future of JobKeeper," Mr Chalmers said.
"The Morrison Government could better target and taper it, but shouldn't just turn off the tap when businesses are struggling with new restrictions.
"If the Government continues to mismanage this recession it will be a jobless recovery - and nobody wants to see that."
After introducing support for the economy "too narrowly and too slowly", Mr Chalmers said Australians needed to know that the Government has a more comprehensive plan to support long-term growth and job creation.