Labor candidate for Bundaberg Tom Smith with Senator Anthony Chisholm in Bundaberg.
Labor candidate for Bundaberg Tom Smith with Senator Anthony Chisholm in Bundaberg.

Helping locals: Plea not to scrap JobKeeper early

WITH more than a thousand organisations in the Bundaberg region on JobKeeper and COVID-19 hitting local businesses, Labor candidate for Bundaberg Tom Smith and senator Anthony Chisholm are urging the Federal Government not to axe the program early.

The call to maintain the program comes after it was announced that JobKeeper payments for employees of a child care subsidy approved service and for sole traders operating a child care service would cease from July 20.

According to data from the Australian Taxation Office, there are 1604 organisations, both businesses and not for profits, participating in JobKeeper for the April fortnights in the Bundaberg region.

Under the JobKeeper Payment eligible employers, sole traders and other entities can apply to receive $1500 per eligible employee per fortnight.

Mr Smith said slashing JobKeeper and JobSeeker would only make business harder for locals.

“I’ve been speaking to small businesses in Bundaberg about the initiatives and programs the Palaszczuk Government has in place to help businesses recover from the detrimental impacts of COVID-19,” he said.

“I’ve been talking to them about Labor’s clear plan for economic recovery for Queensland and the Palaszczuk Government’s path to economic stability for our regions.

“It’s important that as a community we continue to support local Bundaberg businesses by buying local so we can keep Queenslanders in jobs as we unite and recover from the global pandemic.”

Senator Chisholm visited Bundaberg this week and called on Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt to stand up for local businesses and workers.

“He needs to pick up to phone to Scott Morrison or Josh Frydenberg and tell them that cancelling JobKeeper off before businesses are ready is simply unacceptable,” he said.

“Local workers and businesses are just starting to recover from this crisis, cancelling JobKeeper early would be catastrophic for them.”

Mr Pitt said he would continue to do his bit to support locals daily.

“It was our Coalition Government that designed and implemented the JobKeeper program to help millions of Australians in a time of need,” he said.

“In our local region, it’s saved many workers from joining the queues at Centrelink.”

As parts of the economy reopen and people return to their jobs, Mr Pitt said the program would be reviewed “as taxpayers would expect”.

“We have made it clear that we will continue to support businesses and workers through this crisis and it is disappointing that Labor is trying to make political points out of a crucially important program they initially supported,” he said.

“I will continue stand up for our local businesses every day.

“Labor doesn’t have a senator based north of Brisbane’s CBD.”

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