Hundreds of thousands of Australians will lose $100 a week under changes to the JobKeeper payment which came into effect on Monday.
The government had been providing payments of $1,200 a fortnight to eligible staff members working at least 20 hours a week but that has now decreased to $1,000.
Workers under the 20 hour threshold who were entitled to $750 a fortnight will now receive $650.
This is the second decrease to the JobKeeper payment as the government looks to rein in the scheme’s cost, with the first having come into force on September 28.
Changes to the JobKeeper payment in effect from Monday mean eligible workers will now receive $200 less a fortnight (stock image)
Businesses have to prove their GST turnover declined in the December 2020 quarter to be eligible for the wage subsidies, with payments then passed on to employees.
Data from the Australian Taxation Office shows 520,373 businesses were relying on JobKeeper in December, down from 1.036 million at the end of October.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the businesses were employing about 1.6million workers.
‘With 734,000 jobs created over the last six months our economic recovery is well underway with fewer businesses and their employees in need of JobKeeper and other temporary economic supports,’ he said.
‘That said, JobKeeper continues to be an economic lifeline to more than half a million businesses employing around 1.6 million Australians in the December quarter.’
The scheme is planned to end on March 28, six months later than first planned.
The JobKeeper scheme was introduced by the government to keep people in jobs to avoid unemployment spiralling out out control. Pictured, people are seen in long queues outside the Centrelink office in Southport, Gold Coast in March
From January 4 to March 28:
– $1,000 a fortnight for eligible employees working at least 20 hours a week, down from $1,200
– $650 a fortnight for eligible employees working less than 20 hours a week, down from $750
– The scheme is due to end on March 28
Labor’s finance spokeswoman Katy Gallagher said the decrease to JobKeeper will have an impact on vulnerable Australians.
‘These cuts will reduce critical support from the economy including from small businesses, regional communities and vulnerable Australians at a time of heightened uncertainty and new COVID-19 outbreaks,’ she said.
JobKeeper, which was provided as a lifeline to businesses impacted by coronavirus restrictions, is estimated to be costing the government $90billion.
Changes to JobKeeper could be a factor in Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling an early election.
Former Liberal leader John Hewson said he expects an election this year.
‘Morrison is in the box seat but if he leaves the election until 2022 then he could face more blame for the economic downside of coronavirus,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘JobKeeper is going to run out, JobSeeker will decrease and businesses will hit the wall so there could be real electoral pain.’
The Morrison government has been pumping billions into the economy, racking up a budget deficit of an estimated $198billion this year – but most of the spending is on short-term, temporary relief.
Meanwhile, changes to JobSeeker took effect from January 1.
JobSeeker recipients were receiving a $250 coronavirus supplement on top of their welfare payments every two weeks since September 25.
The Federal Government shaved the supplement down to $150 on Friday with the scheme flagged to end on March 31.
JobSeeker recipients used to receive a $550 a fortnight coronavirus supplement from April 27 to September 24 before it was reduced to $250.
There were more than 500,000 business employing about 1.6million Australians applying for JobKeeper in December (stock image)