LIFELINE: More than 1100 people are currently reliant on JobKeeper payments in the Lockyer and Somerset region. Picture: File
LIFELINE: More than 1100 people are currently reliant on JobKeeper payments in the Lockyer and Somerset region. Picture: File

Lockyer, Somerset areas most reliant on JobKeeper

NEARLY 1200 people in the Lockyer Valley are receiving the JobKeeper payment, with the highest uptake in Gatton, followed by Laidley and Regency Downs.

New Treasury data gives a breakdown of JobKeeper numbers, revealing tourism-reliant Cairns and the Gold Coast were Queensland's worst-affected areas.

In total the Lockyer Valley and Somerset has 1180 JobKeeper recipients, with the breakdown including 287 in the 4343 postcode area, followed by 272 in towns with the postcode 4341 and 205 in the 4311 region.

The $1500 fortnightly wage subsidy was announced in March and covers 160,000 Queensland businesses and 3.5 million Australians. It is expected to end on September 27.

 

 

Lockyer Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Paul Emmerson said he was surprised the region's numbers weren't higher.

"I think many of the farms would have been business as usual and that's where a lot of our employment is," said Mr Emmerson.

READ MORE: Revealed: Suburbs most reliant on JobKeeper

"Some retail was business as usual and some were booming, like the hardware store.

"But others were down, like the cafes, pubs and hairdressers were dramatically affected, some trades were down, some service stations were down because people weren't buying fuel."

Mr Emmerson questioned whether it was necessary to extend the payment beyond September as the economy gradually reopened.

"I think everybody is wanting to get back to business as usual but there is concern about a second wave, which would be terrible," he said.

JobKeeper was a lifeline for workers at Porter's Plainland Hotel, many of whom had been stood down only weeks earlier.

Of the hotel's 82 staff, 49 were eligible to receive the wage subsidy, which is administered by their employer.

 

Shelley Porter, from Porter’s Plainland Hotel, at the pub’s new hotel check-in. Picture: Supplied.
Shelley Porter, from Porter’s Plainland Hotel, at the pub’s new hotel check-in. Picture: Supplied.

 

Plainland Hotel marketing manager Melissa Porter said JobKeeper was a positive initiative that had made a difference.

"As soon as it was announced we looked into it because two weeks prior we had to stand down many staff," said Ms Porter.

"I know a lot of our staff had to start looking for options at Centrelink (when pubs were forced to close) and it was devastating.

READ MORE: Council confirms workers will lose jobs

"As soon as JobKeeper was introduced it was simpler and administered through the business so we knew the payments were being made.

"It was really positive and staff were able to come back for a few hours a week because at that stage we had the two bottle shops and were doing takeaway meals."

Ms Porter said the hotel was now slowly ramping up business, currently serving meals with table service at lunch and dinner and resuming breakfast on Saturday, June 20.

Up to 20 people can eat on the deck and dining area and 16 in the bar.

Articles contributed today by Kat Donaghey were supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.


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