Queensland continues to pressure the federal government to outline support for the tourism sector as operators face ‘sleepless nights’ at the prospect of being cut off from JobKeeper payments.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles pointed to the Queensland.com campaign as evidence the state was doing it’s part to attract domestic tourists as businesses suffered from a drought of international guests.
“Many of them are suffering from sleepless nights right now worrying how they’re going to sustain their businesses, how they’re going to keep their workers in the face of the end of JobKeeper,” he said.
The Queensland.com website had 622,00 visitors in January, the highest numbers in two years, Dr Miles said.
In response to criticism tourism operators had suffered as a result of Queensland’s strict domestic border controls, he said the state government did not invent the pandemic.
“The international border restrictions were put in place by the Morrison government, of course we support them, they’ve been very useful in controlling the virus,’ he said.
“But the national government has to take ongoing responsibility for supporting jobs and industries throughout that, as are we. We’re doing our part and so should they.”
The Queensland government has held firm on its call to extend JobKeeper for the tourism sector after the debate turned into a slanging match between states last week.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is urging the federal government to extend the payments past March for tourism operators, particularly in far north Queensland.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet both took a swipe at her in response.
Ms Berejiklian said her Queensland counterpart was a victim of her own border closures, while Mr Perrottet said Ms Palaszczuk needed to realise “money doesn’t grow on banana trees”.
Ms Palaszczuk dismissed the southerners’ criticism, telling reporters they can call her whatever names they want “but honestly, I will always stand up for people in this state”.
Ms Berejiklian said Queensland’s tourism woes were exacerbated by Ms Palaszczuk’s domestic border closures, which had been too hasty.
“She is now the victim of a policy she put in place herself,” she said.