Loss of JobKeeper akin to another QNI: Hill

Date published: 22 March 2021

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill has called for the JobKeeper program to be extended until there is a widespread vaccine rollout to the general population in Australia and overseas and international borders are re-opened.

Cr Hill warned that Townsville faced a repeat of the economic calamity caused by the closure of the QNI Yabulu refinery should the Federal Government cut the Jobkeeper support scheme this week.

The closure of QNI in 2016 resulted in the loss of close to 2000 direct and indirect jobs in Townsville and caused years of economic recession.

Cr Hill said figures released this week showed more than 1700 Townsville residents were currently relying on the JobKeeper payment to employers to make ends meet.

“I welcome the Federal Government’s recent extension of the discount airfares scheme to include Townsville and I have been encouraged by an increase in bookings for flights to our beautiful city,” Cr Hill said.

“However, this scheme is not a silver bullet. It will provide nothing more than a short-term sugar hit to our local economy.

“The JobKeeper scheme is helping many Townsville families pay their bills and put food on the table while the economy continues to recover from the shock of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“It must continue otherwise our city faces the risk of an economic recession, just like experienced after QNI shut its doors.

“It is my firm view that without the continued support from the Federal Government through its JobKeeper program, many businesses will not survive resulting in job losses.”