Who will keep PM’s $1500 payment

 

Scott Morrison has guaranteed that every boss currently securing JobKeeper in Australia for their staff will hang on to the $1500 handout until September.

As the Prime Minister prepares to unveil the 'second phase' of the wage subsidy scheme, he has moved to reassure workers and employers the changes won't happen overnight.

News.com.au confirmed the new JobKeeper payments will be reduced from the current rate but will still be worth more than $1000-a-fortnight until Christmas.

A part-time rate will also be offered to casuals, who will no longer secure a flat-rate subsidy that is the same as full-time workers.

"It will be phased and we will be announcing the next phase post September. It will be targeted, it will be temporary, it will be effective as the first round has been, we do know this first round has been very important,'' Mr Morrison said.

"I mean, almost one million businesses, around three and half million employees, and there is still two months to go on the current set of arrangements. What the treasurer and I will announce this week will not commence the day after we announced, it will be several months from them.

"There will be several months for businesses to adjust to the next phase. But the support that had been in place since April will be in place until September, and then we'll move into a new phase."

Scott Morrison has announced all businesses currently receiving JobKeeper payments will remain on the program until September. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Scott Morrison has announced all businesses currently receiving JobKeeper payments will remain on the program until September. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

As expected, the Prime Minister also confirmed that to qualify for post September assistance, companies will need to requalify based on turnover.

"The way the economy is rebuilding and moving through the COVID recession is where their own turnover is lifted, whether their own business is growing and the business is in a stronger position to support people in jobs. And that's the way it should be,'' he said.

Labor's industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said the ALP supported the decision to extend JobKeeper.

"The biggest issue for keeping people in jobs, and keeping the businesses that provide jobs going at the moment, the biggest issue is the future of JobKeeper. And we've been pushing hard to say that the September cliff cannot continue,'' he said.

Mr Burke said it made sense to phase out the wage subsidy for those companies that have recovered and to better target it.

"We're not proposing a dollar figure. What we are saying though is the sorts of changes that you would be able to make to the current scheme are to better target it to allow it to be to be tapered, and to retest the different businesses,'' he said.

"It's reasonable to say that a business that was in at the beginning of the pandemic, if they have recovered, then they shouldn't be eligible anymore or that there should be some phase-out process, that's completely reasonable. In terms of better targeting it, we've always said it was ridiculous that a casual worker who was supporting a family working five days a week missed out because she'd only been there for 11 months, and yet someone who was working one shift a week was suddenly getting 10 times their income."

The Prime Minister was speaking today at the launch of a new, expanded loans scheme for business amid concerns some smaller operators had been nervous to take up the government-backed loans.

Mr Morrison at Display Wise in Miranda, Sydney on Monday. Picture: Jeremy Piper NCA NewsWire
Mr Morrison at Display Wise in Miranda, Sydney on Monday. Picture: Jeremy Piper NCA NewsWire

"Decisions are made by businesses take about what capital they need and how much they borrow our judgments for them,'' Mr Morrison said.

"And they work that out with their banks, and they work it out with their accountants and their financial planners. And they make sound judgments.

"It is important for Australians to be optimistic was that I have a lot of faith in Australian businesses."

Under the current loans scheme, the Government will guarantee 50 per cent of new unsecured loans to small and medium enterprises.

But the take up has been modest at just 15,600 businesses taking up loans worth $1.5 billion.

The second phase of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme is designed to help businesses "move out of hibernation" according to the PM.

The changes will include extending the purpose of loans able to be provided beyond working capital, such that a wider range of investment can be funded; permitting secured lending (excluding commercial or residential property); increasing the maximum loan size to $1 million (from $250,000) per borrower; increasing the maximum loan term to five years (from three years); and allowing lenders the discretion to offer a repayment holiday period.

The current scheme remains available for new loans issued by eligible lenders until 30 September 2020. The second phase of the Scheme will start on 1 October 2020 and will be available until 30 June 2021.

Originally published as Who will keep PM's $1500 payment



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