Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has today condemned the Morrison Government’s refusal to assist Queenslanders with disaster relief funding through the jointly funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
The Premier, speaking after a Roundtable Industry Forum to update industry and business leaders on the coronavirus, said she had written to the Prime Minister to request usual disaster funding arrangements be activated for those impacted by the international health crisis.
“The Prime Minister has today refused to help Queensland farmers, universities and businesses,” she said.
“We have put in a reasonable request to ask for help in sharing the cost of this disaster, and helping our businesses and communities across the state, and the Morrison Government has said ‘no’.
“The impact of this health crisis will be felt across multiple sectors, from hotel beds and airlines, to agriculture, education, trade and retail.
“Co-funding disaster relief is standard practice. Together, the Queensland and Federal Governments have provided $15.7 billion to Queenslanders since 2011. Why is this disaster any different?
“We will deal with this crisis in the same resilient way we deal with any natural disaster, be it flooding, cyclones or bushfires.
The Premier said the Queensland Government’s Economic Functional Recovery Group (EFRG) will be immediately convened to assist local government, business and industry implement response actions to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.
“Today, a Roundtable Industry Forum was held at Parliament House to update Queensland industry leaders on the coronavirus, and to hear firsthand from those sectors how Government could assist,” she said.
“The scale and scope of economic impacts from this event will become clearer over coming days as we continue to speak with industry.
“The impact on tourism will be significant with travel restrictions now in place from mainland China and tourists from other areas unwilling to fly due to the perceived risks.
The Premier said that international student education services have also been impacted with students unable to travel to Australia for the start of the school and university year.
“There will also be implications for food and agricultural exports to China with imports expected to be affected with all shipping crews having to be medically cleared prior to the pilots boarding ships.”
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the first meeting of the EFRG would be held tomorrow to discuss the impacts on industry and gather intelligence on the effects of the virus outbreak.
“As the lead agency for economic recovery my Department will play a key role in assisting local government, business and industry with resilience and recovery strategies to deal with the impacts of the coronavirus,” he said.
“Director General Rachel Hunter will chair the group and provide strategic advice to the Queensland Government and stakeholders.”
“The group will coordinate input from relevant departments, local government and industry bodies to develop longer-term recovery plans.”
Minister for Tourism Kate Jones said the coronavirus would have a devastating impact on tourism in Queensland.
“One in 10 Queenslanders is employed in the tourism industry. Coronavirus poses a huge threat to this sector. That’s why we’re working closely with key industry players to safeguard these jobs,” she said.
“Already we’ve actioned a domestic marketing campaign to give a shot-in-the-arm to local operators. We’re working with the Federal Government on a wider tourism package to support Queensland businesses in the months ahead.”
Standing Members of the Economic Functional Recovery Group are:
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Department of Employment, Small Business and Training
Department of Jobs and Small Business (Federal
Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games
Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs
Department of Transport and Main Roads
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
Queensland Police Service
Queensland Reconstruction Authority
Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority
Tourism and Events Queensland
Australian Bankers Association
Australian Industry Group
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association
Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA) Australia
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
GasFields Commission Queensland
Insurance Council of Australia
Local Government Association of Queensland
National Retail Association
North Queensland Bulk Ports
Queensland Farmers Federation
Queensland Resources Council
Queensland Tourism Industry Council
Queensland Trucking Association
Institute of Chartered Accountants
Ports Corporation (Qld-wide)
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Cameron Dick
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for Cross River Rail
The Honourable Kate Jones