Questions remain over JobKeeper lifeline

 

THE Federal Government's mammoth JobKeeper stimulus package passed parliament yesterday but questions remain about its rollout.

Cairns employment agent Edward Karras had concerns about businesses acting as "Centrelinks" for the Federal Government.

"Will I need to operate my payroll system to distribute the money? How does that work? As a business and for the greater good, we are happy to do that," Mr Karras said.

"How many employers will be bothered and when it comes to casuals? A lot of employers consider them a dime a dozen.

Employment agent Edward Karras of Top End Consulting is concerned that his casual employees won't qualify for the federal government's Jobkeeper payments. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Employment agent Edward Karras of Top End Consulting is concerned that his casual employees won't qualify for the federal government's Jobkeeper payments. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"They are not going to be motivated to get their payrolls running.

"It is all in the fine print."

The rescue package will deliver eligible workers fortnightly payments of $1500.

Despite calls by Cairns-based Senator Nita Green for amendments to be made to the bill, the ALP failed in its attempt to alter the legislation.

 

Calls also came from the education sector to have the package amended.

The Queensland branch of the independent Education Union of Australia said the JobKeeper scheme needed to ensure the livelihoods of education employees.

Branch secretary Terry Burke said the union was aware of support staff stand-downs at a number of schools across the state and the country - with more threatened.

"That is why our members are very disappointed that calls by our union to Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan for the JobKeeper package to be amended for non-government schools - at least to be consistent with other NGOs and not-for-profit organisations - have so far been rejected," Mr Burke said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the House of Representatives yesterday before politicians passed the Federal Government’s JobKeeper stimulus package. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the House of Representatives yesterday before politicians passed the Federal Government’s JobKeeper stimulus package. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

JobKeeper was designed to keep workers tied to their employers so businesses can fire up again as soon as the virus has passed.

Of the businesses who have applied for the wage subsidy for their full, part-time and casual staff who have been with the company for at least 12 months, the overwhelming majority were small businesses.

About 246,000 companies with an income of $2 million or less have applied, compared with just over 2900 businesses earning more than $250 million.

About 5800 not-for-profit companies have also registered for JobKeeper.

Global credit agency Standard & Poor's has lowered Australia's outlook from stable to negative as a result of the pandemic, posing a one-in-three chance of the nation losing its prized top-tier, AAA rating in the next two years.

Originally published as Questions remain over JobKeeper lifeline



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