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Plan to cut COVID lifeline a backward step for Tasmanian economy

  • Deloitte report says removal of JobKeeper “pear shaped” for Tasmania
  • TCCI and Labor calling on the government to outline a plan for the economy
  • Gutwein should be lobbying his federal colleagues

Premier Peter Gutwein needs to be lobbying his Canberra colleagues to abandon their plan to withdraw Coronavirus stimulus packages as a Deloitte Access Economics Business Outlook report warns the move could cause the state’s economy to go pear shaped.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the removal of JobKeeper payments and the coronavirus supplement would affect hundreds of Tasmanian businesses trying to stay afloat and keep thousands of workers in jobs in the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms White said the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry had called on the government to outline its plan to support the economy when JobKeeper payments stop at the end of March.

“Early this month when the Morrison Government cut the JobKeeper payment, thousands of Tasmanian workers had their take-home pay slashed and hundreds of businesses were placed in jeopardy,” Ms White said.

“At the same time JobKeeper is reduced to zero from March, cutting the coronavirus supplement and JobSeeker will remove $250 million from the Tasmanian economy.

“The Deloitte report clearly states that JobKeeper and Jobseeker have been crucial in helping to keep Tasmanian businesses alive and when they are removed there’s a real risk that the economy could go pear shaped.

“I would urge Peter Gutwein to pick up the phone and talk to the Prime Minister about how critical these payments are to Tasmania and appeal with him to stop the cuts.

“Our unemployment rate is approaching eight per cent and youth unemployment is hovering at the 20 percent mark – by far the worst in the country – and Tasmania is in desperate need of a comprehensive plan to get people back to work, a plan the Gutwein Government has not delivered.

“Labor’s Working for Tasmania jobs plan will deliver jobs for 35,000 Tasmanians.

“It provides much-needed support to help the tourism, hospitality and arts sectors get back on their feet by reconnecting people with venues, events and places, funding important infrastructure upgrades and investing in training to deliver the workforce needed in recovery.”

Rebecca White MP
Labor Leader