27 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Local Mayors and MPs call for JobKeeper extension for Northern Rivers

Latest News

Local youth among those hardest hit by housing affordability crisis

A 20 per cent spike in rents is driving an increase in youth homelessness across the North Coast, the organisers of a national campaign to end homelessness say.

Other News

Will the Shenhua Watermark coal mine be cancelled?

News is trickling through unofficial channels about the possibility of a Berejiklian government plan to buy out the remaining licence from the Shenhua Watermark coal mine project at Breeze in the state's west.

The ghost in the archives #3: Sexism, legal discrimination and ‘the game of bastardry’

The ghost in the archives #3 – In which a former Echo drudge dives into the crypt and comes up covered in dusty memories.

MVP is its own award

It’s easy to get excited about Byron’s new MVP restaurant in Lawson St – it’s not only got standout dishes such as Blue Spirulina Linguine with blue swimmer crab and Yamba prawns, and Fettuccine al Ragù with Hayters Hill beef ragù sauce, feta and baby peas, but it’s also all sustainably sourced from local growers, available in takeaway (even delivered if you’re close to town) and more than half of the menu is plant-based.

Rocky Creek Field Day coming in July

As part of the Rural Landholder Initiative, rural landholders in the Rocky Creek area are invited to an Off-stream Watering and Riparian Habitat Field Day.

Rise and shine!

Early morning starts are not a usual routine for chefs at the Ballina RSL Club. March was an exception when Chef Halie Welsh rallied some staff and friends together to take part in Ian Thorpe’s Laps For Life charity. A team of ten hit the Ballina Pool at 7am every day during March to raise funds For ReachOut’s Laps For Life challenge. 

Paramedic pay

Sue McLeod, Myocum  I was saddened by the plight of our paramedics and their union’s frustrated attempts to seek a pay...

Lismore Cr Vanessa Ekins. Photo David Lowe.

The call by Byron Shire Council Mayor Simon Richardson for area specific JobKeeper extensions have been supported by Lismore City Council Mayor Vanessa Ekins, Ballina MP Tamara Smith (Green), Lismore MP Janelle Saffin (Labor) and Federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot (Labor).

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson. Photo Eve Jeffery

Mayor Richardson made the call for more support in the region following the cancellation of the Bluesfest 2021 as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) following the visit of a hens party to Byron Bay that had members test positive for COVID-19. This was followed by one case of community transmission.

More than 1.5 million people will have their JobSeeker payment reduced because the government decided to withdraw the covid supplement. This is after acknowledging a year ago the payment was inadequate,’ said Mayor Ekins.

‘People who are already struggling will find it harder to feed their family, provide medication and pay critical bills. JobSeeker must be increased above the poverty line. These are families who keep our economy going by buying shoes for their children, visit the dentist, shop locally for food. 

‘It is essential the government funds an increase to JobSeeker and supports small business with continued JobKeeper.’

Ballina MP Tamara Smith.

This sentiment was echoed by Ms Smith who told The Echo that ‘I support the Mayor’s call but I think we are not the only regional area needing an extension of JobKeeper.

‘I’m calling for JobKeeper to be extended across the country and particularly because of the vulnerability of regional areas. With forecasts of 150,000 people being thrown into unemployment as a result of the cut to JobKeeper, with regional areas disproportionately affected, now is not the time to throw people to the wolves.’

State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin. Photo Tree Faerie.

Ms Saffin has told The Echo that she did not believe that JobKeeper should have ended so soon while her Federal counterpart Justine Elliot said ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for our local economy and the recent cutting of JobKeeper only makes this situation worse’.

‘I’m continuing to call on the Morrison Government to urgently extend JobKeeper and to deliver a specific regional financial package to help our local businesses,’ Ms Elliot told The Echo.

Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot. Photo supplied.

‘At the end of March there were more than 4,200 businesses in the electorate of Richmond that were dependent on JobKeeper. This was keeping local workers in jobs and local businesses trading.

‘It was Labor who originally called for these wage subsidies when the pandemic first hit, and Labor Leader Anthony Albanese and I have consistently continued to call for support that’s tailored to specific areas.

‘The industries that were hardest hit in our region include those in retail, tourism, hospitality and the arts. Many of them were heavily dependent upon international tourism and were immediately impacted when the pandemic hit.

‘All the that Scott Morison has offered is a half-baked plan to provide half-price airfares, but even then it’s only for a select few areas.

‘The Ballina-Byron region, which has been hit hard by the lack of international tourists, has been completely forgotten, and this is totally unacceptable. Local jobs and businesses are suffering, and this is yet another blow from this government.

‘My number one priority is local jobs, so I’m continuing to call on the Morrison government to provide urgent financial support for our area. The Morrison Government must provide an extension to JobKeeper and targeted support to keep people in jobs and to keep our businesses going,’ Justine said.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Why do Labor and the Greens still want our country to have a two-tiered welfare system for the unemployed, with some unemployed people getting more income support via Jobkeeper while others get less income support via Jobseeker? Do they see this as “social justice”?

  2. What a croc, what data do you have to prove Byron has been hit hard by lack of international tourists? The Australians travelling to the region due to land locks have kept it booked out continually.
    Go talk to wait staff for 5 minutes over not having any down time during winter months and never seeing such swelling of people.
    Enough spending already but i suppose its typical labour mantra


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also see some accountability from councils...

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for maintaining her house in a...

Bruns boarding house showdown Thursday

The stage is set for a crucial debate over the Brunswick Heads ‘Corso’ development in Byron Council this week, with staff recommending that the developer’s revised plans be approved.