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Speech-Morrison Government COVID-19 Response to Protect Gold Coast Jobs

15 May | '2020

It’s my privilege to speak on today’s matter of extreme public importance focused on the government’s economic response to the coronavirus to protect Australian jobs. The coronavirus outbreak impacts personal health and the health systems of countries around the world and it’s also having profound economic implications, particularly in my central Gold Coast electorate of Moncrieff. The government’s three economic support packages have provided timely assistance to affected workers, businesses and the broader community and has kept Australians in work and businesses in business. The measures have put a floor under the economy and laid the foundation for a strong economic recovery.

As the coronavirus curve is flattened the government is focused on reopening and rebuilding. We need to get businesses back open to enable Australians to go back to work and to ensure consumers and business have the confidence to return to normal activities. Like rest of Australia, the blow to the Gold Coast economy has been devastating as tourism, education, events and hospitality are all key pillars in our city. This is why I have established the City Heart Task Force to engage with key industry sectors to build inner city strategies as we foster the economic road to recovery. It gives me the opportunity to hear updates directly from small business, tourism, hospitality, education and real estate to ensure I can continue the fight for the good people of Moncrieff here in this place.

I would like to commend all those businesses in Moncrieff who have adapted during this tough time to keep their doors open and our people in jobs. It’s been such an inspiration to see. I have just a couple of examples for you. Goldsteins Bakery on Chevron Island has moved online, so they have adapted their business right now. Allstar Plastics in Southport have started manufacturing safety screens and aerosol boxes. The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach are using their tech facilities to assist schools and they’re using their kitchen to cook meals for those who need a bit of extra support at the moment.

The government has taken decisive action to address the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The Morrison government has provided an historic wage subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight before tax. The $130 billion JobKeeper payment is helping six million Australians and their employers to keep their staff in jobs and keep their businesses open. I commend the government’s JobKeeper program, as do all business groups in my electorate of Moncrieff. There was an audible sigh of relief in the streets when it was announced.

An example of the flow-on effects can be seen at the Southport Yacht Club. I recently caught up with the general manager, Brett James, who said that JobKeeper has enabled him to keep his staff on. The yacht club has a lot of senior members who have needed to isolate for their own safety. The JobKeeper program enabled Brett’s team to call and check in on their senior citizen membership. I commend Brett and his team on their touching initiative. Further to this, international superyachts will be able to sail into the Gold Coast seaway, via Southport Yacht Club, permanently in a coup for the Gold Coast boating and tourism industries, as the city starts to look towards the road to recovery, as soon as our borders reopen and the superyacht berth is built.

I am pleased to have worked with Minister Dutton to deliver the permanent border clearing station, which is a vote of confidence for our city during these tough times. A single superyacht is worth thousands of dollars to the Gold Coast economy per day. This is one more step in building the Gold Coast as one of the world’s greatest superyacht destinations, boosting our tourism industry and creating local jobs.

Gold Coast theme parks will receive a funding lifeline with the Morrison government unveiling a nationwide $94.6 million support package to help them get through the COVID-19 crisis. This funding will assist exhibiting zoos and aquariums with the fixed operational costs associated with caring for their animals. It will also help to ensure they can remain viable and ready to welcome visitors once restrictions are eased. This is a lifeline for the Gold Coast theme parks, such as Sea World in my electorate, where revenue has dried up as a result of the impacts of COVID.

At the beginning of the crisis I held a meeting with Village Roadshow, Dreamworld and the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, to discuss how best to support our tourism icons during this time to ensure they can bounce back once restrictions ease. Our theme parks are a major drawcard for our region and deliver huge positive flow-on effects to our local economy. Families from around Australia love them and we look forward to welcoming them back on the road ahead. They bring thousands of visitors to the Gold Coast who spend millions of dollars visiting other attractions, staying in local hotels and dining in our fantastic local restaurants. It’s a big win for our city and the tourism industry on our road to recovery.

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