Protesters have taken to the street marching in far north Queensland demanding the revival of job keeper for tourism and hospitality workers.
The industry has faced many challenges in the past 2 years which has been covered by The Tourism News, as north Queesnland is reliant on tourism which has been hit hard over the past 3 months with lockdowns and border closures taking its toll on the industry.
The industry is calling for government support as it is expected to lose 3,000 jobs in far north Queensland before Christmas.
From Cairns Post 30.08.2021
A SMALL but vocal group of protesters has marched on a Far North MP’s office demanding the federal government revive wage support for tourism and hospitality workers struggling to make ends meet.
About 20 union members convened at Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch’s Mulgrave Rd electorate office waving flags, chanting anti-government slogans and calling for a new JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.
The Queensland Council of Unions claims by Christmas the Far North tourism sector workforce would have shrunk to half its pre-pandemic size if financial support is not actioned.
Union member and Cairns Rainbow Resort employee Alexis Kearns said a downturn in Cairns visitation had meant a dramatic reduction in the total hours she could work each week.
“Now I’m working only 15 hours a week, and being a nursing student and living out of home it is really hard,” the 19-year-old said.
“I am scared for myself and my family, my friends as well since we’re all having hours cut, we’re all finding it really hard to live.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know if we’re going to keep our jobs, you never know. And that’s really hard to live with.”
Passing cars honked in support as union members chanted “hey hey, ho ho, Jobkeeper is the way to go” and “Warren Entsch has got to go, hey hey, ho ho
However Mr Entsch as not in after making the call to stay in Canberra following the last sitting of parliament after a Covid outbreak locked down the ACT earlier this month.
Queensland Council of Unions Cairns Branch President Trish Berrill addressed the crowd and urged Mr Entsch contact the Prime Minister about a Jobkeeper reboot.
“We know that here in the Far North, we’ve been decimated by the lack of tourism, our tourist industry is falling apart. It’s bleeding,” she said.
“We need financial assistance before Christmas time or we’re going to see over 3000 jobs lost in the Far North. We can’t allow that to happen.”
Despite Mr Entsch’s advocacy to support a tourism industry in crisis, Ms Berrill said she was not convinced.
“I don’t buy that at all. I don’t think there’s been a big enough push,” she said.
“You are an elected member and looking after your constituents. You should be on the front page of the Cairns Post and all the TV networks every night telling Queenslanders what this federal government is doing for us up here.
“And that’s not happening.”
Up to 3150 jobs will be lost in the Far North by Christmas according to recent research from the Tourism and Transport Forum.
Responding to the protest Mr Entsch said it was “interesting” the protest follows Treasurer Cameron Dick’s call for the Leichhardt MP to “blow up the parliament” and cross the floor on a Jobkeeper revival.
“So clearly they are in collusion with the state Labour government,” he said.
“If you want to judge my performance talk to Mark Olsen from TTNQ or Nick Trompf (of Advance Cairns) or talk to Sally Mlikota from the (Cairns) Chamber of Commerce.
“We have got four elected state representatives and we are getting nothing out of them, except them saying talk to the feds.”