BRISBANE, AAP – Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has attacked the Queensland premier over coronavirus stimulus amid a row over the extension of JobKeeper for the tourism industry.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has been campaigning for an extension of the wage subsidy past the March cut-off for industries hit by international border closures.
The NSW coalition government has no sympathy for the Labor premier, blaming the Queensland tourism sector’s woes on a Ms Palaszczuk’s state border closures during the pandemic.
Mr Frydenberg also lashed out at the premier’s COVID-19 stimulus commitments in an opinion piece on Tuesday.
He said the federal government had provided $28.5 billion in stimulus to Queensland through JobKeeper and allowing them to dip into their superannuation savings early.
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The treasurer said that compared to $8.8 billion the premier had pledged to spend over the next four years.
“Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is entitled to her own opinions but not her own facts,” Mr Frydenberg wrote in the Courier-Mail newspaper.
“The reality is the Morrison government has already delivered to Queenslanders more than three times the amount of economic support than the Palaszczuk government has committed to.”
The treasurer also said the Queensland government’s spending was the lowest as a proportion of Gross State Product of any state or territory at just 2.0 per cent.
He said the federal government would spend 13 per cent of GDP, while Victoria had committed to 9.0 per cent of GSP and NSW committed to 7.0 per cent of GSP.
“Unfortunately for Queenslanders, when it comes to the level of state government support, this is one State of Origin contest their government doesn’t win,” he said.
Mr Frydenberg said March was the right time to wind back JobKeeper with 40,000 jobs created in Queensland between September and January and employment levels now higher than pre-pandemic levels.
He said any further Commonwealth support for industries like tourism should be targeted, temporary and not get in the way of the broader economic recovery.
“We stand ready to continue to support Queenslanders through this crisis, as we have done from the very start of this crisis,” Mr Frydenberg added.
“No amount of grandstanding and petty politicking by the Queensland premier will detract from the indisputable fact that when it comes to the economic response in Queensland, the Morrison government has done the bulk of the heavy lifting.”