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JobKeeper set to be extended as second spike looms

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
Hundreds of people queue outside an Australian government welfare centre, Centrelink, in Melbourne on March 23, 2020, as jobless Australians flooded unemployment offices around the country after Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned the coronavirus pandemic would cause an economic crisis akin to the Great Depression. - In scenes not seen in Australia for decades, queues stretched around the block at unemployment offices around the country as the forced closure of pubs, casinos, churches and gyms began at midday on March 23. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
The government wants to reduce the number of jobless Aussies. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed there will be continued JobKeeper support beyond the former 27 September deadline.

“It is clear the economy will need further economic support and we will continue to do what it takes to keep businesses in business and Australians in jobs,” Frydenberg told The Australian on Saturday.

He said the Victorian crisis threatens the national economy and further support measures are required.

“We know that many sectors will take considerably longer to recover, even after restrictions are eased.”

Frydenberg also told The Sydney Morning Herald a new round of income support was on its way as the country faces plummeting consumer confidence.

"There will be another phase of income support," he said.

“Things were really improving, businesses and households were regaining confidence, but the Victorian spike has occurred and that's a significant setback for a quarter of the national economy.”

A sharp end to increased JobSeeker payments and JobKeeper wage subsidies would have coincided with an end to the banks’ initial six month mortgage pause, triggering potential financial devastation.

The major banks this week announced mortgage-holders would be able to defer their loans for another four months if required.

Around 3.3 million Australians are currently receiving the JobKeeper subsidy which covers $1,500 of wages per fortnight.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier in July all but confirmed there would be further support measures, and that it would go to industries that are more affected than others.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann reiterated that in an interview with Sky News on Friday.

“Businesses that have recovered or are recovering clearly won’t need the sort of support that has been in place over the last few months on an ongoing basis, but other businesses will,” he said.

“It will come down to making sure that we properly assess the need, and identify and target support into those areas where support is indeed needed.”

Frydenberg had previously warned the Melbourne lockdown could cost the national economy as much as $1 billion a week.

Now, as NSW monitors an increase in cases, new modelling indicates the state’s economy would lose $1.4 billion a week if a second lockdown was implemented.

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