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Australia Treasurer Josh Frydenberg rules out extension of JobKeeper beyond March

05:17  31 january  2021
05:17  31 january  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Josh Frydenberg wearing a suit and tie: Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said JobKeeper was always © Provided by ABC Health Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said JobKeeper was always "a temporary program". (ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has again ruled out the possibility of a JobKeeper extension beyond the end of March.

"It was always a temporary program," he told the ABC Insiders' David Speers.

"More than $80 billion is already out the door, and it's helped to support more than 3.5 million Australians."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last week called on the Federal Government to extend the JobKeeper payment for struggling industries like tourism.

"I saw Annastacia Palaszczuk cheekily, to put it lightly, suggest that we extend JobKeeper," Mr Frydenberg said on Sunday's Insiders program.

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"The Morrison government has delivered more than three times the amount of money to Queenslanders than the Palaszczuk government has even committed to. So I'd welcome the State Government in Queensland making more of a commitment."

Ms Palaszczuk pleaded for an extension to JobKeeper "for these industries that are doing it tough" when she fronted a press conference in Cairns on Thursday.

"There's about, from memory, 10,000 businesses here in the tropical north that are on JobKeeper at the moment and that's going to have a huge impact on employment, especially when JobKeeper ends at the end of March," Ms Palaszczuk said.

She said while many businesses are "back on their feet", some industries aren't.

"So what we're asking for is a helping hand during this hour of need."

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Nationwide, more than 900,000 people are out of work and just over one million are in need of more work.

"We were staring into the abyss of double-digit falls in economic growth and the tripling of the unemployment rate," Mr Frydenberg said, looking back at 2020 as a "year like none other".

"This year, it's all about maintaining the momentum of the economic recovery ... But Australia starts this year from a very strong economic position — a position we wouldn't trade with any other country in the world."

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Mr Frydenberg told the ABC the labour market had "outperformed expectations", with 320,000 jobs being created in the last three months.

He said a final decision regarding JobSeeker would be made prior to the end of March, but added there should be no expectation" that it would be extended.

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Labor warns tourism job hit post-JobKeeper .
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has warned the tourism sector could face business closures and job losses when the JobKeeper program ends in March.The opposition leader is touring far north Queensland, where the tourism sector has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly by the closure of international borders.

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