Treasurer’s border warning as JobKeeper nears end

 

State premiers will be "more conscious" of the economic damage of closing borders once JobKeeper ends on March 28, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail during a visit to Brisbane, Mr Frydenberg said the JobKeeper wage subsidy, which expires in 18 days, had been a "constant source of economic support" for states while their borders were shut.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg shares a drink with Triffid bar staff Dylan Gatt and Hayley Sherriff, Newstead. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg shares a drink with Triffid bar staff Dylan Gatt and Hayley Sherriff, Newstead. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

But the looming end of the $100bn wage subsidy will remove a major safety net for premiers as they decide whether to shut their borders during any future outbreaks.

"I think the states will now be more conscious of the economic consequences of their actions," Mr Frydenberg said.

He called on the Queensland Government to follow the lead of NSW and identify and isolate outbreaks instead of shutting down the entire state during outbreaks.

"There will be new outbreaks as we continue to battle the virus but (they should be handled) in a surgical way without closing a whole state off from the rest of the country because when that happens it seriously dents confidence and it stops tourists coming and it costs jobs," he said.

Mr Frydenberg also revealed that a post-JobKeeper economic support package expected to be announced within days would be directed towards businesses in a position to invest and grow.

"We're focused on helping businesses that can help themselves, meaning that they're businesses that are going to invest in their future with skin in the game," he said.

Triffid bar staff Dylan Gatt and Hayley Sherriff had their jobs saved by the JobKeeper wage subsidy. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Triffid bar staff Dylan Gatt and Hayley Sherriff had their jobs saved by the JobKeeper wage subsidy. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Touring the Triffid music hall at Newstead, Mr Frydenberg said there was "strong job growth across the economy" even as "emergency support" was coming off and programs such as JobKeeper were winding down.

He said the entertainment industry had been supported with a range of measures during the lockdowns and border closures but customers were returning as health restrictions were lifted.

 


 

Originally published as Treasurer's border warning as JobKeeper nears end


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