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Federal Government adds $15 billion to JobKeeper scheme to aid Victorian businesses

Federal Government adds $15 billion to JobKeeper scheme to aid Victorian businesses
August 7, 2020

The Federal Government has advised that it will add an extra $15 billion towards its JobKeeper allowance to assist businesses in Victoria and hundreds of thousands of their employees.

The new guidelines for the JobKeeper extension will begin on 28th September with more businesses and workers able to qualify for the Federal Government payments.

The scheme will also relax compliance criteria, with businesses only needing to show that their GST turnover had fallen over one quarter. Workers will also qualify if they were employed on 1st July, rather than 1st March.

Commenting on the additional 'JobKeeper 2.0' payments, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated "we believe that about 530,000 extra Victorian employees will now join the JobKeeper program over the September quarter, that means 1.5 million Victorian employees will be using JobKeeper

“That’s nearly half of the private sector workforce across the whole state.

“The combined effect of the economic deterioration in Victoria, which will see more firms needing to rely on JobKeeper, and the changes we are making to the program, will see the cost of JobKeeper increase by around $15.6 billion.”

While welcoming the changes to eligibility for the extended round of JobKeeper payments, the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) says the challenges presented in the state have already seen many in the tourism industry write-off the prospects for 2020.

VTIC Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani commented “the industry has welcomed the changes announced by Treasurer Frydenberg, with the easing of eligibility criteria meaning that more businesses in Victoria will be able to access this much-needed relief.

“The additional $15 billion lifeline will mean that a further 530,000 Victorians will take up the wage subsidy in the September quarter, lifting the total number of recipients in the state to 1.5 million.

“Being able to operate in June during Victoria’s first steps to reactivating, meant that many tourism businesses across the state were ineligible for JobKeeper based on the need to show losses for the June and September quarters. The new requirements change all that and give operators some hope of making it through the COVID-19 crisis.”

Despite this important change in direction, there are also many businesses within Victoria’s tourism and events sector that have indicated they are now letting go of expectations for recovery, even in a small way, in 2020.

Mariani added "with any staged easing of restrictions, as we have experienced before, many of the tourism businesses we are talking with are facing the harsh reality that they will not be able to resume operations to a sufficient level to salvage 2020.

“In particular, our events and tour and transport operators are struggling enormously and are not seeing any hope for business resumption moving into 2021.

“This has been the most challenging time for our sector in living memory. The tourism industry was the first to be affected by the impacts of Coronavirus, and we will be the last to come out the other side.

“Working with government now to plan a roadmap to recovery, including what relief measures can help to get as much of the sector through this crisis, is vital."

Images: The Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa is among many attractions closed due to Victoria's Coronavirus restrictions (top) and VTIC Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani (below).

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