NSW Treasurer’s disbelief at QLD begging for bailout

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has accused Queensland of asking taxpayers to bail the state out for the economic hit from its own hardline border closures, as Annastacia Palaszczuk called on the federal government for a JobKeeper extension to prop up her ailing tourism industry.

"Queensland, closed one day, asking someone else to pick up the tab the next," Mr Perrottet said. "People in NSW have not only been banned from entering Queensland, but Queensland wants the taxpayers of NSW to pay for that decision."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has asked for jobKeeper to be extended to help her state’s ailing tourism industry. Picture: Brian Cassey/NewsWire
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has asked for jobKeeper to be extended to help her state’s ailing tourism industry. Picture: Brian Cassey/NewsWire

It comes as new figures ­reveal that NSW's own decision to take a proportionate response to the Christmas virus wave saved up to $9 billion in economic activity.

The NSW government modelling shows that imposing a "hard lockdown" or extending the northern beaches tough stay-at-home orders across greater Sydney could have cost the NSW economy up to $1.5 billion a week.

"That would amount to a $9 billion hit if a hard lockdown had lasted until today.

"The value of keeping our economy open can literally be counted in the billions of dollars," Mr Perrottet said.

"We continue to fight a dual battle: keeping people safe is a priority but keeping our economy open and ­people in work is vital."

 

 

Ms Palaszczuk, the Queensland Premier, on Thursday called for the federal government to extend JobKeeper to industries like tourism ­operators "as a matter of ­urgency" while emphasising "how important" the NSW market was to Queensland businesses - after weeks of shutting out Greater Sydney over the Christmas-New Year period.

By last April alone, then-Tourism Minister Kate Jones had estimated Queensland tourism had taken a $6.5 billion hit from the pandemic, with newer modelling suggesting the summer of shutting Sydney out had cost Australia $7 billion nationally.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind estimated that his state lost more than $200 million by closing the border to Greater Sydney from December through to January.

He said NSW represented about 30 per cent of the $10 billion generated by tourism in Queensland in 2019, the last year before travel was interrupted.

He said that while the Queensland community had been in favour of tough border measures, the industry needed more support.

"Our industry will still be in desperate need of assistance going forward," he said.

 

Queensland: Shutting out tourists one day, begging for money the next. Picture: Instagram
Queensland: Shutting out tourists one day, begging for money the next. Picture: Instagram

Ms Palaszczuk's plea for that assistance came as she announced the border would open to residents from Greater Sydney from February 1, as she now urged Sydneysiders to seek an "escape" in the tropical far north.

"There are going to be a lot of people in that Greater Sydney region that want to come back and see family and friends," Ms Palaszczuk said.

She said tourism operators in the far north "are doing it tough … especially with JobKeeper ending at the end of March.

"Maybe JobKeeper does need to be extended for those industries (that are struggling)".

Mr Perrottet said the Queensland request showed how crucial it was to "have a proportionate and measured response to outbreaks".

"It's very easy to have a blanket decision to shut borders but there are economic downstream consequences and Queensland are seeing that," he said.

"At the end of the day, someone has to pay for that.

 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian repeatedly asked Queensland to open the border to NSW. Picture: Richard Dobson
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian repeatedly asked Queensland to open the border to NSW. Picture: Richard Dobson

"It's the Australian taxpayer, whether its in Queensland or NSW or anywhere else, who they are asking to pick up the tab for their ­decision.

"The money doesn't come from nowhere. She's asking us to pay for her decision to lock us out."

The Sunshine State will open to Greater Sydney from Monday, despite NSW not yet reaching Queensland's own benchmark for easing border rules: 28 days without any unlinked community transmission.

NSW Treasury has estimated the cost of the Sydney restrictions imposed since December's fresh outbreaks at around $400 million per week, or about $2.4 billion in total until January 29.

 

Mr Perrottet yesterday disputed suggestions a tougher or more widespread lockdown would have lasted less time than the NSW approach.

Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond has backed calls for Job­Keeper to be extended for the sector, saying "continuing ­uncertainty around domestic borders" made it "impossible" for domestic tourism to compensate for the lack of international travellers.

NSW authorities on Thursday had still not found an epidemiological link ­between our state's most ­recent local cases and any previous case.

Originally published as NSW Treasurer's disbelief at QLD begging for bailout


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