House debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020


Bonner Electorate: JobKeeper Payment

4:55 pm

Photo of Ross VastaRoss Vasta (Bonner, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the Morrison government's historic $130 billion JobKeeper payment scheme and the impact that it's having on businesses in my electorate of Bonner. I'm very pleased to share with the House that the JobKeeper payments are working. The payments are supporting hundreds of jobs and businesses in Bonner and helping to cushion the blow from the severe economic impact of the coronavirus. As of last week, more than 725,000 businesses employing more than 4.7 million Australians had registered for JobKeeper—a fantastic take-up. However, in my electorate of Bonner, I have a couple of specific examples I have received and would like to share.

The first is from Anthony from MIG Training in Upper Mount Gravatt. Anthony writes: 'Hi, Ross. I just wanted to provide a message of support for the federal government's suite of measures in support of small business during the COVID-19 crisis. The small business stimulus and JobKeeper program will provide a lifeline to our business that will contribute greatly to our chances of survival and recovery on the other side of the pandemic. We are a second-generation, family owned registered training organisation based in the electorate for the past 40 years. We currently employ 20 people and provide apprenticeship training services across Queensland. At the end of March, we were forced to stand down all but a skeleton staff to ensure our survival. Along with the support of our landlord, the substance of the support package and the speed of implementation will give us every chance to navigate what is ahead. In the coming weeks, we will have the capacity to re-engage with our staff and clients in a time frame that would not be possible otherwise. Despite the inevitable flak the government will cop in the coming months when a small minority attempt to take advantage of the program, know that this is an excellent public policy. I would be grateful if you could pass this message onto the team of policymakers. This support will make a substantial difference to the lives of all those who are connected to our business.' Thank you, Anthony, for your feedback. As per your request, I have let the policymakers and Australians know just how much JobKeeper means to you and your second-generation, family owned business.

Another example I would like to share with the House is from Mark Beitz of Bartons car dealership in my electorate of Bonner. Before JobKeeper was announced, Mark's dealerships were staring down the path of closing and standing down their team. I am now very pleased to share that Mark did not close the dealerships and has since informed me that not only is Bartons open for business but they stood down very few staff and are already reviewing how to bring them back under the JobKeeper program. He shared this with me: 'Our staff have been amazing and are all pulling together to do what it takes. We have a 24-hour-a-day hotline we have just launched. This is staffed by Bartons staff, and we are the only one in Australia doing this. You can book services online with staff via email, web chat, SMS and Messenger, and you can buy cars online, with virtual test drives and more.' Mark had also purchased 3,000 face masks and distributed them to some staff for them to take home to their families, with the remaining stock available for older people in the community, free of charge.

Bartons has further adapted to the coronavirus by offering free sanitisation treatments in every car during servicing, pick-up and drop-off for those who need to isolate at home, as well as mobile services. This is another fantastic example of JobKeeper payments allowing businesses to continue operating and keep staff on and helping them to adapt during these difficult times.

With businesses across a range of industries suffering from this global pandemic, JobKeeper payments have had a significant impact on protecting jobs and our economy. The payment is giving working Australians their best chance of keeping their jobs and keeping them connected to their employers so business can bounce back as we ease restrictions and recover from COVID-19.

House adjourned at 17 : 00

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Zimmerman) took the chair at 10:00.