Entsch says more JobKeeper ‘a no-brainer’

LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has indicated his supreme confidence that JobKeeper payments will be extended in Cairns despite the Federal Government making no promises.

Revelations about the staggering number of Cairns businesses on life support have left little doubt about the dire need for a six-month regional extension of the package. Treasury figures show 3607 businesses in the 4870 postcode alone applied for the package, ahead of the Brisbane CBD (3048), Surfers Paradise (2949) and Toowoomba (2923).

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said he was confident JobKeeper payments would be extended. Picture: PETER CARRUTHERS
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said he was confident JobKeeper payments would be extended. Picture: PETER CARRUTHERS

The Cairns postcode had the biggest JobKeeper uptake in Queensland and was fifth in the country behind only CBDs and suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne.

The numbers paint a grim picture as the September 27 cut-off date draws near.

Mr Entsch said Prime Minister Scott Morrison was acutely aware of the need to push back the funding cliff to March 2021 in Cairns.

"I'm not even sure that March next year will be sufficient time, but I think it's a no-brainer that we have to do this extension," he said.

"The Prime Minister is aware of this, the Treasurer's aware of it, and it's something that I'll continue to remind them of.

"But I'm confident that they have well and truly been heard."

Labor Senator Nita Green said Cairns needed more concrete assurances from Mr Entsch. PICTURE: Matt Taylor.
Labor Senator Nita Green said Cairns needed more concrete assurances from Mr Entsch. PICTURE: Matt Taylor.

Mr Entsch was not even considering the possibility an extension would be rejected when the $750-a-week payment to furloughed workers was reviewed later this month.

"I don't believe that's a scenario we need to consider," he said.

"I'm confident that the support will continue."

Cairns-based Labor Senator Nita Green said tourism operators needed more than blithe assurances from Mr Entsch.

"Warren Entsch is at odds with his Prime Minister on this issue," she said.

"His call for a JobKeeper extension will only count if something comes out of it."

Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning said the numbers gave an insight into a philosophical difference between the north and south of the state.

"Maybe this is why Brisbane doesn't get it about opening the borders," he said.

"We are so far away and we're being asked to carry all the load.

"Here we are being asked to grin and bear it, but it's bloody hard.

"There are businesspeople who are struggling to hold things together."

Originally published as Entsch says more JobKeeper 'a no-brainer'