No extension to hospitality JobKeeper despite pleas

Hospitality operators have been hard hit by coronavirus restrictions.

Hospitality operators have been hard hit by coronavirus restrictions. Photo: AAP

Josh Frydenberg has rebuffed calls to extend JobKeeper payments for the struggling hospitality industry.

Restaurant and Catering chief Wes Lambert wants taxpayer-funded wage assistance extended for six months beyond March for businesses hit by coronavirus-induced lockdowns and border restrictions.

His sentiments were echoed by shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers who had also called for continued support.

But the Treasurer ruled out the idea in a written response published by The Australian on Friday.

“We recognise the challenges faced by the accommodation and food services industry,” Mr Frydenberg wrote.

“However, given the unprecedented levels of support announced by the commonwealth and state and territory governments, I consider that existing policy settings will continue to support a strong economic recovery and we are not contemplating a ‘Hospo-Keeper’ package at this time.”

Many industry figures argue the sector can not survive on domestic travel alone, particularly if state borders keep closing.

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned businesses to prepare for the wage subsidy scheme to end on March 31.

-with AAP

Topics: Jobkeeper
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