JobKeeper extension a welcome lifeline


Hunter Business Chamber Chief Executive Bob Hawes says the continuation of JobKeeper payments will help avoid the economic cliff looming in September.

Hunter Business Chamber Chief Executive Bob Hawes.

It was announced yesterday under the Federal Government’s revised arrangements that payment rates after 27 September will drop.

They are set to decrease from $1,500 a fortnight per eligible employee to $1,200 for those working more than 20 hours a week and $750 for those who average less.

Another drop will occur in March next year to $1,000 and $650 respectively.

The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed this continuation but added some businesses will be challenged by the reduction in payments.

“The government’s decision to ease back JobKeeper support rather than stopping it altogether will avoid the economic cliff that was looming in late September,” Mr Hawes said.

“But it is a lifeline, not a rescue package, and it is important that businesses who are relying on the subsidy take this opportunity to seek advice and reappraise their business models where necessary.

“When the first phase of JobKeeper was announced, we all hoped it would be an interim measure that would help see businesses through to better times.”

He added that, following the resurgence of the virus in Victoria, the challenges businesses face will be longer-term.

“Businesses cannot assume that there will be a return to what they know as normal trading conditions any time soon,” he said.

“With that in mind, some will decide to continue and others to close – either way, the extension of the program gives them six months to plan for that outcome.”

Mr Hawes said the implications of the reduced payments would be significant for the many businesses in the Hunter who relied on part-time and casual workers.

“It is a necessary evolution of the program for governance purposes but it will put more demands on business at a time when many are working around the clock just to stay open,” Mr Hawes said.

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