JobKeeper too costly to keep

Original article by Sarah Turner
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 24 : 29-Jun-20

A quarterly survey of economists shows that there is general consensus that while the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme has been effective, it needs to have an end date. JobKeeper is slated to end in late September, and Warren Hogan from the University of Technology, Sydney says the increase in the JobSeeker payment could be extended by six months to accommodate JobKeeper recipients who have not returned to work when the scheme ends. The survey has also found that economists expect the Australian economy to contract by four per cent in 2020, while the unemployment rate will peak at eight per cent by the end of the year.

CORPORATES
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SYDNEY

Qantas job shock sparks airline help

Original article by Phillip Coorey, Lucas Baird
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 26-Jun-20

The federal government is set to provide a coronavirus assistance package for the nation’s airlines in the wake of plans by Qantas to retrench 6,000 employees. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it is clear that the sector will continue to require government assistance when the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme ends in late September. He has flagged the possibility of extending JobKeeper or providing an industry-specific support package. Morrison has previously rejected a request from Virgin Australia to extend the JobKeeper scheme.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, QANTAS AIRWAYS LIMITED – ASX QAN, VIRGIN AUSTRALIA HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX VAH

Idle staff not all keen to return to work

Original article by Matthew Cranston
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 18-Jun-20

Some employers in the retail sector say they are finding it hard to get staff who are receiving the JobKeeper subsidy to return to work. Lee Boys from the Organic Store & Kafe in Adelaide notes a ‘sense of entitlement’ among some employees, while the CEO of a large retailer says many of the company’s workers on JobKeeper are using "ridiculous" excuses to avoid coming to work. Carolyne Burns of recruitment firm Expr3ss! agrees that getting JobKeeper recipients back to work is a problem, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors.

CORPORATES
ORGANIC STORE AND KAFE, EXPR3SS!

JobKeeper cash needed for schools and hospitals

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 2 : 16-Jun-20

Restaurant & Catering Australia CEO Wes Lambert has urged the federal government to retain the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme until at least the end of 2020. However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has argued that retaining coronavirus stimulus measures beyond the scheduled expiration date of late September would result in less funding for essential services such as health and education. The government may introduce stimulus measures that target sectors which have been hardest hit by the economic downturn.

CORPORATES
RESTAURANT AND CATERING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

ATO to probe claims of $11m JobKeeper rort

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 1-Jun-20

Bedding company Australian Comfort Group is alleged to have deliberately depressed monthly revenue in order to become eligible for up to $11 million in wage subsidies under the JobKeeper scheme. The Australian Taxation Office will investigate the allegations. The Australian Comfort Group has claimed that the person who has made the allegations was only with the company for a short period of time and has now lodged a claim under the Fair Work Act that includes compensation of $200,000. The company contends that any investigation of its eligibility to claim the JobKeeper payment "will stand up to scrutiny".

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMFORT GROUP PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

JobKeeper gaffe bonus to help rein in debt

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Greg Brown
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 25-May-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison concedes that responsibility for the massive over-estimate of the cost of JobKeeper ultimately rests with him. The wage subsidy scheme is now expected to cost about $70bn rather than the $130bn that had been budgeted, after it was revealed that about 1,000 businesses had mistakenly entered the amount of money they expected to receive under the scheme rather than the number of eligible employees. Morrison says the revised cost of JobKeeper will reduce government borrowings, while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has ruled out broadening the eligibility criteria for the scheme.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

JobSeeker’s block on work to be scrutinised

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 22-May-20

The federal government’s decision to double the JobSeeker allowance will be scrutinised as part of its forthcoming review of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme. There are concerns that increasing the unemployment benefit to $550 a week has prompted some casual workers to quit their jobs, as they are of the view that they are financially better off by going on the dole. Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy stresses that JobKeeper and the increased JobKeeper payment are temporary. However, he has flagged the possibility that they may be phased out gradually.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Don’t take away job payments: employers

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 4 : 14-May-20

Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says the $130bn JobKeeper scheme must run its full course, and it should be extended beyond the current end date of 27 September if necessary. He has also cautioned against any move to reduce the amount of the wage subsidy, which is currently $1,500 per fortnight. Some Coalition MPs argue that businesses which have resumed normal operations should no longer receive the subsidy, but Council of Small Business Organisations CEO Peter Strong suggests that such businesses should instead be allowed to opt out of the scheme.

CORPORATES
THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, COUNCIL OF SMALL BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

MPs push for wage subsidy overhaul

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 3 : 13-May-20

The federal government’s JobKeeper scheme is slated to end on 27 September, but Liberal MP Jason Falinski believes that it should be phased out sooner. He suggests that the government should consider starting to phase out out JobKeeper once all students have returned to school. Liberal MP Craig Kelly in turn contends that businesses that have resumed normal operations should no longer receive the wage subsidy, while Liberal-National Party MP Warren Entsch says industries and regions that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus-induced downturn should continue to receive the subsidy beyond September.

CORPORATES
LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, LIBERAL-NATIONAL PARTY OF QUEENSLAND

Door not shut on extending jobless aid: PM

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 2 : 12-May-20

JP Morgan expects about one million Australians to have lost their jobs in April, lifting the unemployment rate to 8.5 per cent. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reiterated that at present the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme is still slated to be in place for six months. He adds that it could be extended or scaled back, depending on the pace at which the economy and the labour market recover from the pandemic. Official labour market data for April will be released on 14 May.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET