LNP MP breaks ranks to back JobKeeper extension
FAR north Queensland MP Warren Entsch has broken ranks with the Coalition to openly back extending the JobKeeper wage subsidies at least for the tourism industry.
The Member for Leichhardt warned that even a six-month extension would not be enough for many tourism businesses in Cairns and elsewhere, who have had international tourism cut off.
It follows the release of government data which revealed Cairns had the fifth highest number of businesses on the JobKeeper payment in the country, behind only the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs in other suburbs in those capitals.
Treasury is conducting a review into the wage subsidy, which is expected to be released in late July before the scheme is due to end on September 27.
Mr Enstch said he was confident that the extension would happen for tourism.
"I'm not even sure March next year will be sufficient time but I think it's a no-brainer we have to do this extension," he said.
"The review that will be carried out this months, as it should be, will identify those industries or businesses that no longer require it and there are businesses out there that no longer
"There will be others that are businesses that are identified that will never, ever recover without government support and need to be identified but there are businesses and industries, like the tourism industry, that will need an extension well past September 27."
Asked what he would do if it was not extended, Mr Entsch said it was "hypothetical" and he was confident from discussions that some form of package would be developed.
Mr Frydenberg this morning said he did not want to pre-empt the review.
"When it comes to other sectors of the economy, whether it is the tourism sector or the arts sector, we continue to look at our options to build on announcements we've made already," he said.
"I don't want to pre-empt the review but I do know JobKeeper right now is supporting so many Australians."
The review into the wage subsidy is due on July 23, but the delaying of the June budget update until after it is released has sparked speculation that there could be a limited extension of the scheme or a tourism-specific recovery package.
There are more than 3600 Cairns businesses which have signed up to the scheme, 500 more than the Brisbane CBD.
There have been more than 160,000 Queensland businesses who have signed up to the scheme.
Originally published as LNP MP breaks ranks to back JobKeeper extension