With the end of JobKeeper just a little over two months away, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has assuaged fears that support for small business will end on 28 March 2021.
In a recent interview on ABC Breakfast[i], the Treasurer confirmed the business subsidy would end in late March, however it is not the only support measure that the government has put in place.
“We have been talking about tax cuts which is putting billions of dollars into the economy,” he said.
“There is the JobMaker Hiring Credit to [get] young people from the unemployment queues into work, there is the infrastructure spending we have brought forward and support for the tourism industry, [and] for the aviation sector.
“There is the Homebuilder program that was extended for another three months. All of these programs add up to a very significant package of support to help Australia get through this crisis.”
The Treasurer said the government was satisfied that the $77 billion spent on the JobKeeper scheme had achieved its desired results. At its peak, JobKeeper supported 3.6 million Australian workers and around 1 million Australian businesses.
“But we saw, in the December quarter, the number of Australians relying on JobKeeper fall dramatically,” the Treasurer said.
“Some 2 million Australian workers graduated from JobKeeper, and there were 450,000 fewer businesses that were on JobKeeper in the month of October compared to the month of September. Now, that is a function of the economic recovery getting underway.”
Industry calls on the Federal Government to do more
Despite the success of the JobKeeper payments, some business peak bodies have called on the government to extend the program.
Speaking to SmartCompany, chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) Peter Strong[ii] said extending JobKeeper beyond 28 March is essential. “It should be continued in a different form, by targeting it,” he said.
“We can collect data about which businesses and geographical areas are suffering the most. That would be a much better use of the funds, to get to the businesses that need them.”
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