Hinkler MP Keith Pitt has urged residents to shop local and support businesses amid the coronavirus crisis.
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt has urged residents to shop local and support businesses amid the coronavirus crisis.

‘Keep business in business’: MP’s plea to shop local

HINKLER MP Keith Pitt has pleaded with residents to support and shop from local businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses across the region are bracing for an inevitable social and economic downturn in the wake of the disease.

Queensland's economy is predicted to lose billions over the coming years.

Mr Pitt has urged people to support local producers and keep "business in business".

"Our local butchers have stock, our local seafood providers are over stocked, due to challenges with aviation export markets, they have fridges and freezers full of Australian product," Mr Pitt said.

"Buying local is good for the local economy, it keeps local people employed."

The Federal Government has proposed a $17.6 billion stimulus package to cushion the blow of the virus to Australia's economy.

A $750 handout will be given to pensioners, families, veterans and students.

Another $1 billion fund will go towards helping communities hit hardest by the economic shock.

Cash flow support of up to $25,000 will go towards businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million.

Apprentice wages will be subsidised by 50 per cent.

Mr Pitt slammed panic buyers and said the region needed to take "a calm and measured approach".

"Australia is not going to run out of food, we're not going to run out of consumables and people just need to buy what they usually buy," he said.

"(Panic buying) just needs to stop.

"Discussions are under way right now about additional support the government can provide to ensure that our economy gets through the current situation.

"Australia is a resilient nation and we are resilient people."

The State Government has responded to the crisis with $500 million in funding to keep businesses afloat.

Businesses will be able to take out interest-free loans of up to $250,000 to retain staff.

The six-month payroll tax deferral has also been extended.

Queensland's seafood industry has been hit hard by the virus, with major export markets closing doors to prevent the disease spreading.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association boss Eric Perez said Mr Pitt's call was a welcome message amid the uncertainty.

"Commercial fishers, our retailers and specialist seafood outlets are local businesses across regional and coastal Queensland," Mr Perez said.

"Now is the time to show support for the small business sector across Queensland."