REVEALED: Shock number of businesses relying on JobKeeper
New DATA released by the Treasury has revealed Rockhampton as one of the regions hardest hit by COVID-19 in Central Queensland.
The Rockhampton region’s two main postcodes, 4700 and 4701, show a combined total of 1268 businesses now reliant on JobKeeper to pay their staff.
Adding those in the Gracemere, Parkhurst, Alton Downs postcode of 4702, brings this total to 1828.
Yeppoon and Emerald fared slightly better with only 580 and 361 applicants respectively, while Gladstone wasn’t so lucky with a total of 912.
Further north, Townsville performed fairly well in comparison to it’s population with only 914 businesses reliant on JobKeeper, however the same could not be said for Mackay, where 1691 businesses were impacted.
Regions south of Rockhampton showed similar statistics, with just more than 1600 applicants in Bundaberg and 1361 in Hervey Bay.
With JobKeeper’s end date in September looming, many of these businesses have begun to worry about what the future might hold.
However the Federal Government is set to release a review of the scheme next month and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said they would ‘do what it takes’ for the country to bounce back.
Rockhampton businessman Grant Cassidy couldn’t speak more highly of the JobKeeper program.
The Cassidy Group which owns The Edge and Empire Hotels on Victoria Parade has more than 30 staff which roles range from administration, housekeeping and front office customer service, on the payment scheme.
Mr Cassidy said the accommodation sector was one of the hardest hit with an economic fallout from COVID-19.
In just one week from March 13, The Cassidgy Group had more than $1 million in forward bookings cancelled.
“Our business has been hit really hard, the JobKeeper announcement gave us confidence,” he said.
“My concern at the time was for all of our staff, I was very worried how we could support them through it.
“We have a lot of staff that have been with us for a long time, they are very loyal and good, hard working, decent people.
“The JobKeeper stimulus has allowed us to keep more than half of our staff actively engaged in the business.
“I don’t even want to really think about how bad it would have been.”
When the travel restrictions came in there was talk they could be in place for six months, which Mr Cassidy said would have been catastrophic.
“Thankfully things have gotten better quicker,” he said.
As restrictions ease, the business has started to see a strong increase in activity.
“While we are still a long way off, there are plenty of green shoots now,” Mr Cassidy said.
Mr Cassidy also commended the approach leaders, such as the Mayor, Premier and Prime Minister, had taken in turning the country around so quickly.