QLD’s job loss ‘ground zero’
A GOLD Coast senator says the Glitter Strip is 'ground zero' for devastating coronavirus job losses and called for urgent subsidies to keep locals working rather than being thrown on the 'unemployment scrap heap'.
Thousands of Gold Coasters employed in the hospitality industry have been laid off after the closure of pubs, clubs, casinos, restaurants and cafes.
Labor senator Murray Watt visited the Palm Beach Centrelink on the southern Gold Coast on Wednesday where he spoke to tearful residents who had been laid off.
"I have to say I'm horrified by what I'm seeing," he said.
"We know that the Gold Coast is ground zero when it comes to hospitality and tourism workers being laid off in their thousands. All you've got to do is walk along any of the Centrelink queues on the Gold Coast to see that yourself."
Senator Watt said the Morrison Government needed to be doing more to keep people in work.
"The way the Government is approaching this at the moments seems to be just shrugging their shoulders and accepting that thousands of people are going to lose their jobs and they'll just be picked up on income support," he said.
"Many other countries around the world are providing direct wage subsidies to businesses to help them pay their workforce and keep them on, rather than throwing them on the unemployment scrap heap."
Senator Watt also took aim at the Gold Coast-based Government Services Minister over the long queues at Centrelink offices and the crash of its website.
He said 'blind Freddy' could have foreseen the massive demand for Centrelink services once the first phase of coronavirus business closures was announced and proper resources put in place.
"If he (Mr Robert) can't use his position as the minister in charge of Centrelink to make sure that people here on the Gold Coast are getting what they need, he should just give it away," the senator said.
"This is the time when people are looking to their governments to step up, to take responsibility and look out for them - not just come up with excuses about why things can't be done."
Originally published as QLD's job loss 'ground zero'