House debates

Monday, 22 March 2021

Statements by Members

JobKeeper Payment

4:19 pm

Photo of Justine ElliotJustine Elliot (Richmond, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

When this government cuts JobKeeper at the end of March, it will have a devastating economic impact in my region. Currently, there are more than 4,200 businesses in my electorate of Richmond that are dependent on JobKeeper, and this is keeping their workers in jobs and keeping their businesses going. Many have told me that, when this financial support ends, they will just have to close their businesses. So I'm calling on the Morrison government to urgently provide support to those businesses so they can keep trading and keep people in their jobs.

It was Labor who originally called for these wage subsidies when the pandemic hit, and we have continued to call for support that's tailored to specific areas. I've consistently called for specific assistance for regions like mine on the New South Wales North Coast. The government should be looking at and considering options for that targeted support, to keep those people in jobs and to keep our businesses going.

The industries that were hardest hit in my region include those in retail, tourism, hospitality and the arts. Many of them were heavily dependent upon international tourism and were immediately impacted when the pandemic hit. It just has been devastating for them. All the Prime Minister has offered is a half-baked plan to provide half-price airfares, but it's only for a select few areas. The Ballina-Byron region, which has been hit hard by the lack of international tourists, has been completely forgotten, and this is totally unacceptable. Local jobs and businesses are suffering, and this is yet another blow from this government. Let me be clear: jobs are my No. 1 priority, so I'm calling on the Morrison government to provide urgent financial support for regions like mine.