Damning data reveals state’s low COVID spend


Annastacia Palaszczuk has been accused of short-changing Queenslanders with new figures revealing the state has spent the lowest amount on COVID-19 stimulus across the nation despite demanding more Commonwealth cash.

Bombshell new figures reveal the federal government has injected $27.9bn in direct economic support to homes and businesses in Queensland - more than three times the $8.8bn in health and economic measures spent by the state government.

The stunning revelation comes after Ms Palaszczuk demanded the federal government extend its $101.3bn JobKeeper program beyond March or risk thousands of Queensland businesses going bust.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Commonwealth has paid its share in Queensland. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Commonwealth has paid its share in Queensland. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

Her demand prompted a stinging rebuke from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who said the Commonwealth had played its part.

"The Morrison Government has delivered an unprecedented amount of economic support to the people of Queensland during the COVID crisis, a multiple of what has been delivered at the state level," he said.

"As the single largest economic support program in Australia's history, JobKeeper was always meant to be a temporary payment.

"As it tapers off, a number of other Federal Government economic support measures will continue to benefit Queenslanders."

The Courier-Mail can also reveal $14.6bn in JobKeeper payments have been made to more than 190,000 organisations representing 650,000 employees across Queensland.

New data reveals the federal government has committed $251bn, or 13 per cent of GDP in direct economic support to Queensland, six-and-a-half times more than the 2 per cent of Gross State Product (GSP) spent by the state government.



It is understood the 2 per cent of GSP is the lowest level of COVID stimulus announcements of any state or territory government.

Mr Frydenberg said the federal government would continue to spend in the state.

"The JobMaker hiring credit, tax cuts, investment incentives and infrastructure investment among others will help create jobs as our economic recovery continues," he said.

Ms Palaszczuk on Wednesday declared "there's no doubt hundreds, if not thousands of tourism businesses will go under" if JobKeeper is cut in March.

Her call was backed by Cairns tourism and business leaders, who feared those which do survive would only do so by slashing their workforces, pushing up the state's nation-leading unemployment rate of 7.5 per cent.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously rejected a widespread JobKeeper extension but confirmed the Federal Government was considering extending support to hardest-hit sectors.

"We can't run the Australian economy on government money forever," he said earlier this month.





Originally published as Damning data reveals state's low COVID spend