According to the Grattan Institute, the Sunshine Coast has lost more jobs as a result of COVID-19 than any other region in Queensland. Unfortunately, the sectors that are the strong suit of our regional economy are also the very sectors that are most exposed to COVID-19. I'm happy today to be releasing a report on a survey I've recently undertaken with the business community, and I'm grateful to the 281 business leaders who made a contribution. Their key concern at the moment is the risk of business failure and the persistence of a recession.

"I believe that many of us in this chamber will benefit from nuclear medicine at some point in our lives. Whether it's an X-ray, a health screening or a diagnostic test for ourselves or for our loved ones, we should all be truly grateful for the advances made in nuclear medicine. Nuclear medicine uses radiation to provide information about the functioning of a person's specific organs or to treat disease. In most cases the information is used by doctors to make a quick diagnosis of a patient's illness. In some cases radiation can be used to treat diseased organs or tumours.

Supporting our construction industry as we recover from the COVID-19 economic downturn is key to under-pinning the Sunshine Coast economy. The $25,000 HomeBuilder Grants announced today by the Morrison Government will help families and first home owners to build or renovate their homes while directly supporting tradies, apprentices, building contractors, engineers, draftspeople and real estate agents, as well as those who supply the building materials for our homes. The grants apply for new home builds up to $750,000 and for renovations between $150,000 and $750,000.

A flyover perspective of the new $301.25 million upgrade to the Mons Rd and Maroochydore Rds Interchanges which commenced construction in June 2020.

Despite the almighty challenges that our nation faces, there also does lie an opportunity, an opportunity for us to rebuild an even stronger and more resilient economy than what we previously had. This is going to be a long road, and government, here in this chamber included, has an important leadership role to play, but it's really going to be Australian businesses that get us back on our feet. They need to be at the centre of our recovery efforts.

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COVID-19 is affecting us all. Many Sunshine Coast locals have lost their job, through no fault of their own. They’re our neighbours, our family, our mates, our former colleagues … and, right now, they’re needing a helping hand to make ends meet. And that’s where the Government’s JobKeeper program comes in, providing income support each and every fortnight.

COVID-19 is affecting us all. Many local businesses are struggling to survive, through no fault of their own. They’re our local café, our favourite restaurant, our neighbour’s new start-up and, right now, they need help just to survive. And that’s why the Government has introduced measures to boost cash flow, extend credit and subsidise wages. For more information, go to www.australia.gov.au.

To read my regular business updates, see HERE.

The COVIDSafe app is part of our work to slow the spread of COVID-19. Having confidence we can find and contain outbreaks quickly will mean governments can ease restrictions while still keeping Australians safe.

The new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary. Downloading the app is something you can do to protect you, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker we can find the virus.

There won’t be public marches or ceremonies to commemorate ANZAC Day this year and this will be tough for many people … but we’re all being asked to stay at home so we can save lives by limiting the spread of COVID-19 … and you know, staying at home therefore is an appropriate way to honour those who fought and gave their own lives so we could enjoy ours. We thank them. We honour them. Lest we forget.

I just wanted to take the time to wish everyone a safe and happy Easter.  Usually that would mean taking care on a long driving holiday or not making yourself sick on chocolate, but this year staying safe really does mean staying at home. 

One way or another Coronavirus is affecting everyone’s lives right now but this Easter is not the time to be complacent – it is not the time for picnics at the park, or lazy days on the beach. 

**JOBKEEPER – Your Questions Answered** The Australian Government’s $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme is now available for eligible businesses and employees. This video answers the most commonly asked questions.

My office is receiving lots of enquiries about how to access Centrelink payments. Instead of lining up at a Centrelink office or waiting on the phone, you can do it all online and here's a video that explains how. Share this with anyone you know who's lost their job or lost their income.

It is not at all surprising that Labor again drivel untruths to try to tell a story. We know that Labor's spend on defence when they were in office—1.5 per cent of GDP—was actually lower than before World War 2. That is an absolute and utter disgrace. It takes a coalition government, the only side of politics that happens to know how to run an economy, to be able to ensure that defence spending is lifted. Defence spending has been lifted to be on track to two per cent of GDP.

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No-one on the side of the House, including me, is suggesting that nuclear technology—even small nuclear reactors—is an absolute certainty for this country. What we are suggesting is that this new and emerging technology should at least be assessed, should at least be considered as part of our future energy mix. Yet the Labor Party leadership, who proclaim that they are the champions of reducing emissions, blankly refuse to even consider it. It is rank hypocrisy of the highest order.

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Our nation, no doubt, started the year—and, indeed, the decade—with its challenges from drought, bushfires and the coronavirus. But, rightly, we paused as a nation to celebrate Australia Day. In doing so, we paused as a nation to celebrate some great Australians who make such a contribution, and I rise today to mention three from my part of the world. I want to pay tribute to three people who were honoured in the 2020 Australia Day awards.

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