22 February 2021

SUBJECTS: JobKeeper, Newspoll, Vaccine Rollout,

MATT KEOGH MP: It’s 34 days today until JobKeeper comes to an end, leaving small businesses across Australia high and dry. There are 1.3 million Australians employed by businesses that are receiving JobKeeper to support their jobs. We have hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the country, across all sorts of different areas. We’ve seen the Tourism Industry obviously for over a year calling for more government support. We’ve now got reports that the Cinema industry has seen an 80 per cent decline in it’s revenues and they’re suffering hugely. Whether it’s hospitality, accommodation, whether it’s aviation, small business, mum and dad businesses across the country are potentially going to slam into the wall at the end of March. The Government has given small business no certainty. Businesses right now, with 34 days until the end of JobKeeper are having to prepare to let their staff go, having to prepare to potentially wind up the small business they’ve built. This is a shocking situation the government has let small business come into. Unfortunately there are also a number of small businesses I’m aware of that are just assuming, just hoping that Josh Frydenberg is going to come up with some sort of plan for JobKeeper and haven’t made any preparations at all and those businesses absolutely could get slammed into a wall with no certainty of government, no clarity of who might be supported at the end of March, those businesses who might have some changes to support after the end of march. It is absolutely incumbent now, with 34 days to go until the end of JobKeeper for Josh Frydenberg and the Morrison Government to be clear to small business and business across the country and those 1.3 million people that are employed by them. Treasury is already saying they’re expecting 100 thousand of those people to lose their jobs when JobKeeper comes to an end. The government must be clear with small business across Australia – what is going to happen at the end of March, are they going to extend JobKeeper, are there going to be changes in eligibility requirements and will there be some form of support for those businesses that are still suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Australia.


JOURNALIST: The Newspoll out today shows that your leader Anthony Albanese has fallen further behind Scott Morrison, are you disappointed by that?


KEOGH: I think the interesting thing about Newspoll today is despite the fact that oppositions across the states have not been performing well at all, the Labor Party here Federally is 50/50 with the Morrison government after a year of a national, an international pandemic to be in a situation where Labor is 50/50 with the Government shows the strength of the opposition and the fact that we’re talking about the issues that actually matter to Australians across the country, just like this issue of there being 34 days until the end of JobKeeper with no plan from the government in sight.


JOURNALIST: Matt obviously the next big step for the vaccine rollout is today for many of the states. This is a massive logistical task given the size of the country. You’re from WA the biggest state in the country, what is it you’re concerned about when it comes to the rollout.


KEOGH: I think it’s absolutely fantastic we’ve seen the rollout start, we know it’s been delayed, we know that Scott Morrison said Australia is at the front of the queue but turns out we were nowhere near the front of the queue when it comes to the vaccine rollout, but it’s excellent the vaccine rollout has now started and that’s a good thing and I encourage people to go out and get that vaccination as they become eligible to get that. We’re going to see a huge logistical exercise, people should be prepared for that, the government’s been talking for a long time now about this vaccine rollout coming and we look forward to that running as smoothly as possible.


JOURNALIST: Should Scott Morrison have gone first? There’s been a bit of talk around about him being at the front of the queue, do you have any problem with him being one of the first ones to get vaccinated?


KEOGH: No difficulty with the Prime Minister going first with this rollout, it’s not like he took 100 vials with him. It was one shot and it makes a very clear demonstration to everyone across the nation that this is a safe and effective vaccine and it encourages people to take up that vaccine and that is an important message for our political leaders to be sending.