Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has taken a swipe at Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, saying it’s time for her to “reach into her pocket” to support her state’s economic recovery.
Ms Palaszczuk has ramped up pressure on the federal government to extend its JobKeeper wage subsidy beyond its March 28, warning thousands of jobs and businesses across the tourism industry were at risk of collapse.
But the push has been slammed by Mr Frydenberg, who told Sky News the government had already funnelled $27.9bn of economic support to the state.
“We have delivered more than three times what the Queensland government has committed to,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“We’d welcome further announcements by the Palaszczuk government and from all state governments to reach into their pockets and provide the support that is necessary as part of Australia’s economic recovery.”
Mr Frydenberg said border restrictions had been “pretty tough” on the tourism sector.
He welcomed the news Queensland would ease restrictions and open up to the rest of the economy.
“We do recognise that the tourism sector has been hit particularly hard – but we also point out how much substantial support (already provided),” Mr Frydenberg said.
Latest figures show 170,000 businesses across the state are still drawing on the JobKeeper payments to survive.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese told Sunrise the tourism industry needed additional support.
Mr Albanese said international visitors were the lifeblood of the economy for areas such as far north Queensland.
“I think they are deserving of support and Annastacia Palaszczuk is showing once again that she will stand up for Queenslanders,” he said.
However, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has accused Queensland of asking taxpayers to bail the state out for the economic hit from its own hard-line border closures.
The two-tier JobKeeper payment fell to $1000 a fortnight for people working more than 20 hours a week, and $650 a fortnight for people on less under changes on January 1.
The final reduction to the wage subsidy came ahead of the scheme’s end on March 28.