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A Bendigo travel agent said unless there is further government support, his business could go bust. italktravel & cruise Bendigo Central owner John Fitzpatrick said the travel industry was left “hung out to dry” following the suspension of international travel in late March. “We won’t be making money until the first quarter of 2021, at the very earliest,” Mr Fitzpatrick said. “Since the international border closed, we have lost 90 per cent of our business. “When the interstate borders closed, in particular Queensland, Western Australia and the Norther Territory, which are the only markets Victorians visit during the winter, that took the rest of our business away.” READ MORE: From Monday, the Federal Government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy reduced by $300 per fortnight for full-time workers. Mr Fitzpatrick’s business supports five full-time employees, including himself, and he said the reduced payment will make it harder to survive. “We have a lot of fixed costs and still have to pay rent and superannuation, while receiving no income,” he said. Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters said more than 18,000 workers in the Bendigo electorate could be impacted by reduced JobKeeper payments and is calling on the government to rethink its stance. “Every one of those 18,000 workers have been spending money in our local community,” Ms Chesters said. “To cut $300 a fortnight is going to have a huge impact on spending capability.” READ MORE: ‘Big gaps’ in $130b JobKeeper scheme: Member for Bendigo Part-time workers could be as much as $750 worse off, Ms Chesters said. “This reduction will have a knock on effect to the local economy, just as we are starting to reopen.” Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said it is time to wind down the supports. “We’ve done everything to make sure we’ve supported the economy, supported workers still being attached to their businesses,” Mr McCormack said. “It’s time for Australians to get back to work.” -With AAP

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