Coronavirus prompts economic crisis talks in Qld

Tuesday, 11 February, 2020

Coronavirus prompts economic crisis talks in Qld

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has condemned the Morrison government’s refusal to assist Queenslanders with disaster relief funding through the Disaster Recovery Fund Arrangements, following a Roundtable Industry Forum to update industry and business leaders on the coronavirus that took place earlier this month.

“The Prime Minister has [...] refused to help Queensland farmers, universities and businesses. We have put in a reasonable request to ask for help in sharing the cost of this disaster, and helping our businesses and communities across the state, and the Morrison government has said ‘no’. The impact of this health crisis will be felt across multiple sectors, from hotel beds and airlines, to agriculture, education, trade and retail,” Palaszczuk said.

The Queensland Government’s Economic Functional Recovery Group (EFRG) will convene to help local government, business and industry implement actions to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. The scale and scope of the economic impacts of coronavirus will become clearer over time, with further consultation with industry members. Travel restrictions are expected to impact tourism, with tourists unwilling to fly due to the perceived risks.

“Co-funding disaster relief is standard practice. Together, the Queensland and Federal Governments have provided $15.7 billion to Queenslanders since 2011. Why is this disaster any different? We will deal with this crisis in the same resilient way we deal with any natural disaster, be it flooding, cyclones or bushfires,” Palaszczuk said.

International student education services have also been impacted, as students are unable to travel to Australia for the start of the school and university year. Food and agricultural exports are also expected to be affected, with the first meeting of the EFRG convening to discuss impacts on industry and gather intelligence on the effects of the coronavirus.

“As the lead agency for economic recovery, my department will play a key role in assisting local government, business and industry with resilience and recovery strategies to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus. Director General Rachel Hunter will chair the group and provide strategic advice to the Queensland Government and stakeholders. The group will coordinate input from relevant departments, local government and industry bodies to develop longer-term recovery plans,” said Cameron Dick, Minister for State Development.

“One in 10 Queenslanders is employed in the tourism industry. Coronavirus poses a huge threat to this sector. That’s why we’re working closely with key industry players to safeguard these jobs. Already we’ve actioned a domestic marketing campaign to give a shot in the arm to local operators. We’re working with the Federal Government on a wider tourism package to support Queensland businesses in the months ahead,” said Kate Jones, Minister for Tourism.

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