Queensland’s premier is content to let “NSW be NSW” after her call to extend JobKeeper for the tourism sector was met with widespread criticism south of the border.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has been urging the federal government to extend the payments past March for tourism operators, particularly in far north Queensland.
A Sydney tabloid and NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet took a swipe at her in response.
A Daily Telegraph front page headline said: “Anna’s Job Stinker – broke banana bungler begs us to bail her out”.
Ms Berejikilian says her Queensland counterpart is a victim of her own border closures, while Mr Perrottet said Ms Palaszczuk needed to realise “money doesn’t grow on banana trees”.
Ms Palaszczuk dismissed the southerners’ criticism, saying she’s standing up for her state.
“They can call me whatever names they want, right, but honestly, I will always stand up for people in this state,” she told reporters.
“I sat around with tourism operators, they are hurting OK.
“So I will always stand up for what is right and what I believe to be right, and we’ll just let NSW be NSW.”
Ms Berejiklian said Queensland’s tourism woes were exacerbated by Ms Palaszczuk’s domestic border closures, which had been too hasty.
“She is now the victim of a policy she put in place herself.,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The Queensland premier said tourism operators, particularly those in the far north, had told her that their main problem was a lack of international visitors rather than a domestic downturn.
“I am merely communicating what people are saying to me. They are concerned that they are going to fall off a cliff,” she said.
“We will of course continue to support our tourism industry, but the tourism industries in some parts of Queensland are being impacted more than others because they were heavily reliant on international tourism … there is no international tourism.”
Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said that bananas earned his state $576 million a year in response to Mr Perrottet’s taunt.
“So yeah money does grow on our bananas,” he tweeted.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg joined in with his NSW political allies, calling for Queensland to put its hand in its own pocket to stimulate growth.
He said the Commonwealth had already spent three times the amount that the Palaszczuk government had spent on Queensland.
The premier called Mr Frydenberg’s comments “a bit rich” given Queensland had spent $11 billion on stimulus, which was proportionately more than NSW and Victoria.
“I’ve been up there listening to the operators personally, nearly every single operator raised this issue (JobKeeper) with me,” she said.
“Perhaps rather than Josh Frydenberg name calling, perhaps he could go up there and listen first hand as well.”
The premier earlier called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take full control of international quarantine.
Under the constitution, the federal government is responsible for quarantining international arrivals, but states and territories have agreed to do so in city hotels and a camp since the pandemic began.
Ms Palaszczuk recently proposed moving quarantine to vacant regional mining camps, such as the Northern Territory’s Howard Springs facility.
“Just as we weren’t willing to take chances when we declared a public health emergency 12 months ago, we are not willing to take chances when it comes to keeping new and more infectious strains out of Queensland,” she wrote on Twitter.
“That’s why I am publicly calling on the prime minister to take greater responsibility for international quarantine.”