Qld calls for 'targeted' JobKeeper to help tourism industry
The Queensland Government has called for a "targeted" version of JobKeeper to support the state's ailing tourism industry.
Queensland has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 in the past 48 hours.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's request for the Federal Government to extend the support package was yet again rejected, with Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan heaping the industry's struggles on Annastacia Palaszczuk's tough border policies.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe on Sunday said a refined version of JobKeeper targeted at the "internationally exposed" sectors of the economy, would be "really helpful".
"That would be the best way forward," he said.
"I heard today Josh Frydenberg talking about targeted measures to respond to the concerns of those sectors of the economy.
"I welcome that, I welcome that as a sign that they are listening. I welcome that as an opportunity to work with the Australian Government on what they can do to help address those concerns and challenges.
"On the current projected and programmed timeline of JobKeeper ending at the end of March, basically larger operators in particular will need to be in a position where they will be having to give people notice of ending their employment, quite soon.
"So if the Federal Government wants to see those businesses continue to operate in as effective way as possible that delivers in having the tourism sector ready to go, then they need to step up and make it clear what those targeted measures that the Federal Treasurer was talking today are, and how they will allow those sectors of the economy to continue as is, or how they will adjust."
Mr Hinchliffe said there have been 20 days without community transmission - it comes as Queensland reopens borders on Monday.
"That aligns with the reopening of our borders to the whole of Australia tomorrow," he said.
"All of those remaining border requirements removed in relation to NSW, we're welcoming people back from Greater Sydney and making it easier for everyone to come to Queensland."
Mr Hinchliffe said there is "no question" tourism operators are in challenging circumstances.
"The pandemic has resulted in those impacts right across the board. Tourism operators in particular have been hit by the challenges the border closures have met.
"But the fact that we are now in a position where we can reopen and have so much of our economy reopen and engaged and so few restrictions compared to other parts of the world shows that the health decisions we made have actually been the right economic decisions."
On Thursday, the Premier asked the Prime Minister "as a matter of urgency" to extend the wage subsidy support scheme past its March deadline for industries doing it tough.
"It would be a mistake to take it away completely before international borders are able to safely reopen," she tweeted.
"Regions such as Cairns, the Whitsundays and the Gold Coast that rely on tourism will be the worst hit."
But Mr Tehan echoed the sentiment of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and other senior Liberal figures who declared Ms Palaszczuk was a "victim of her own policy", blaming stubbornly tough border closures amid the coronavirus outbreak for the loss to tourism operators.
"We want to do, is we want to make sure that the states play their part," the tourism minister told ABC Breakfast on Sunday morning.
"And the Queensland Premier, along with other state and territory leaders, could really play an influential role by getting consistency around hotspot definitions and border closures.
"If the Queensland Premier could play her part in that, that would be wonderful for the Queensland tourism industry. And if we could get that consistency, that would provide certainty to the sector."
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed "there is no intention to extend JobKeeper" and mocked Ms Palaszczuk's request as cheeky "to put it lightly".
"The Morrison Government has delivered more than three times the amount of money to Queenslanders than the Annastacia Palaszczuk government has even committed to," he told ABC's Insiders.
"So I'd welcome the State Government in Queensland making more of a commitment."
But when the treasurer was challenged on the Sunshine State's reliance on international travel and the federal government's knee-jerk reaction to close the borders to New Zealand recently, he offered the same reasoning Ms Palaszczuk has consistently leaned on.
"That was based on the advice of the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee) and it was a unified approach by the central body involving the states as well," Mr Frydenberg said.
"But when it comes to domestic tourism and those borders, I was speaking to Alan Joyce who told me that in January, and for that January period, Qantas and Jetstar cancelled 1500 flights, 200,000 passenger bookings.
"That's more than $200 million into Queensland alone. That's Gold Coast, Hamilton Island.
"These are tourist destinations in Queensland where more than 200,000 passengers had their bookings cancelled because of those border restrictions that the premier put in place at the end of December."
Queensland on Sunday recorded no new cases of COVID-19.
Originally published as Palaszczuk told to 'play her part'