Date set for announcement over JobKeeper program

By Morgan Dyer

The third week in July will be when the country will know its economic fate, according to Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum.

Last week Mr Drum responded to State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed's calls for him to argue the case for JobKeeper payments to be extended in the Greater Shepparton area.

“In April, my electorate reportedly had the third-highest unemployment rate in the country,” Ms Sheed said after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said some parts of the country would feel the impact of the COVID-19 recession far longer than others.

“It is shocking to contemplate how high that rate could go if JobKeeper suddenly cuts out in September as planned,” Ms Sheed said.

“To get back on our feet we need all the help we can get and the Prime Minister will find few regional areas more deserving of an extended JobKeeper program.

“I implore the Prime Minister to extend JobKeeper in Greater Shepparton.”

But Mr Drum said Ms Sheed was stating the obvious.

“Everyone realises that it’s going to be incredibly tough in September when we reach the end of the six months of the JobKeeper program,” Mr Drum said.

“We have always said we are going to review JobKeeper at the end of July and over the last month we have honed that down to make further comment about JobKeeper in the third week of July.”

Mr Drum said focusing on particular industries to extend the program to, rather than specific electorates, would be of greater benefit to our region.

“I think what we would like to see going forward is to look at specific industries and specific business in those industries,” Mr Drum said.

“There will be very clear examples where there will be need of support but there will also be other industries that have ploughed along untouched by the virus where they needed support early on but may no longer qualify for support.”

Although parliament won’t sit until August, Mr Drum said he would be talking to the Federal Government's leadership group throughout June and July with further comment regarding support to be made in the third week of July.

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