PM announces $130 billion wage subsidy to help Aussies get through the COVID-19 crisis.

- March 30, 2020 3 MIN READ

The PM has announced a further $130 billion in support to Australians impacted by the coronavirus crisis. This time the support will take the form of a wage subsidy of $1500 a fortnight accessible to all eligible employees and sole traders.

The PM said it is an unprecedented time and it was time for Australians to dig deep as we face twin battles.

[it’s time] “That we fight against a virus and against the economic ruin that it can threaten. This calls for unprecedented action. Governments making decisions like they never have before.”

Morrison believes the new scheme will throw a lifeline to Australians to assist them through the tough times in the months ahead.

“Our goal is to protect the lives and livelihoods of Australians, to protect and preserve the economy we will depend upon in the months ahead. Many countries in the months ahead and beyond may see their economies collapse. Some may see them hollow out. In the very worst of cases, we could see countries themselves fall into chaos. This will not be Australia,” assured Morrison.

To date the government has announced two economic packages of support worth almost $70 billion. While the states and territories have also upped the ante with billions in support – but the PM said it is still not enough if the government is to cushion the blow for those people suffering from the economic fall out of the virus. It is time to strengthen the safety net, Morrison said.

“Today I announce that we are committing $130 billion over the next six months to support the jobs and livelihoods of what we anticipate will be six million Australians who will need that lifeline in the months ahead.

“We have already boosted the Jobseeker payment for those who have lost their jobs. Today we are introducing a $1,500-a-fortnight Jobkeeper payment, to keep Australians in jobs even when the work dries up. We will pay employers to keep paying their employees, and make sure they do.

“Our plan will see our businesses large and small right across our entire economy share the load with our welfare system to deliver these important income supports. Our Jobkeeper plan sees every Australian worker the same way, no matter what you earn.

The PM stressed there is not more support for one group over another.

“If one person falls on a hard time, if anyone falls on a hard time, it’s the same hard time. We’re all in this together.

“With this plan now, it is time to draw together again. It is time to chart our way through together, these businesses with their employees, staying together, looking ahead, working and building towards the other side so they can create a new future on the other side of this.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said while the past weeks have been tough, the weeks ahead will be tougher, but he wants Australians to know that the government has their back.

Our priority all along has been to properly resource and prepare our health system and the challenges we face in the period ahead. But we have also never lost sight of cushioning Australians from the coronavirus as we build a bridge to recovery.

“Most importantly of all, we have been focused on keeping Australians in jobs and Australian businesses in business.

“At a cost of $130 billion over the next six months, we are providing support to the Australian worker like never before. This new $1,500 Jobkeeper payment will provide job security at a time when it is needed most. This payment will give working Australians the best chance of keeping their jobs.”

The Jobkeeper payment will be available to full and part-time workers, sole traders, and casuals who have been with their employer for 12 months or more.

From today, employers and sole traders will be able to apply to the Australian Tax Office. The payments will flow from the first week of May and be backdated to today. If employees have been stood down by their employer since March 1, they are still eligible for these payments. To be eligible, their payments will need to have fallen by 30 per cent or more.

The treasurer.said the wage subsidy is unlike anything seen in other nations and will ensure every eligible employee will receive a wage subsidy.

“This unprecedented level of support reflects the unprecedented moment that we are in. The announcement today is the means by which Australians can get to the other side of this coronavirus crisis.”

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