An empty Mackay CBD. Picture: Tony Martin
An empty Mackay CBD. Picture: Tony Martin

Number of region’s businesses impacted by JobKeeper shake-up

ABOUT 4200 businesses in the Dawson electorate will have their JobKeeper payments changed from today as the country begins to feel the pinch of recession.

From today, far fewer businesses will qualify for the payment, which will also drop from $1500 a fortnight to $1200 ($750 for part-timers).

There are also fears more people will be let go by their employers once JobKeeper stops.

This is on top of the thousands of Aussies whose JobSeeker payments reduced by $300 on September 24.

Labor Senator Nita Green said government figures showed 16,059 workers in Dawson would be worse off and $14.3 million would be ripped out of the local economy every fortnight if the Federal Government went ahead with the JobKeeper cuts.

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Ms Green warned the move came at the worst possible time for businesses and workers in North Queensland.

"We had to fight hard to make sure the LNP didn't completely take away JobKeeper," she said.

"Since that decision the economy has gone into recession.

"That's why George Christensen and Scott Morrison should reconsider these cuts to JobKeeper on behalf of the thousands of workers and business relying on it."

Dawson MP George Christensen hit back at Ms Green's comments, accusing her of running a "scare campaign".

"Workers in businesses still in trouble from the pandemic with turnover significantly reduced will still be eligible for JobKeeper," he said.

"If Ms Green was serious about helping workers and businesses doing it tough because of the pandemic she would call her Labor mates in the State Government to seek relaxations for restrictions harming tourism and hospitality businesses."

But not all Mackay businesses want the welfare payment to continue.

Crusty's Bake House owner Veronica Chaplin said she could not find any workers because they were "getting paid too much money" on JobSeeker.

Crusty's Bake House owners Geoff and Veronica Chaplin. Picture: Tara Miko
Crusty's Bake House owners Geoff and Veronica Chaplin. Picture: Tara Miko

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"It's hard to find staff at the moment. We're finding now that things have changed so much with staff," Mrs Chaplin said.

"We were always wanting to put permanents on but we're finding we're better off to have more casuals and more part-time for the back-up."