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JobKeeper could be extended beyond September

A long queue at Centrelink with Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg in inset.
A review in June will consider extending JobKeeper for certain recipients. (Images: Getty)

The government has conceded extending the JobKeeper welfare program beyond September might be necessary.

The JobKeeper scheme, which pays out $1,500 per fortnight to eligible Australians, was brought in to help employers retain jobs during the coronavirus-induced economic downturn.

It's currently due to expire on September 27.

Despite experts warning that Australia faced falling off an economic "cliff" in September, some Liberal and National politicians have been openly lobbying to end the program early to save money.

However, this week's revelation that the nation had lost a record-breaking 594,300 jobs in April has forced a rethink.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told journalists on Thursday afternoon that next month's review of JobKeeper would look at extending the scheme, at least for more vulnerable industries like hospitality.

"The review will provide an opportunity to see how the program is going and the experience on the ground and to make any amendments that are necessary," he said.

"When you move a program as quickly as this, then you anticipate that there will be some anomalies and issues that need to be addressed along the way."

How many people are on JobKeeper?

More than 6 million employees hired by 860,000 businesses are now on JobKeeper subsidies. The government expected 6.6 million Australians to be on it eventually.

The program was estimated to cost $130 billion, assuming a September 27 end date.

Morrison had previously refused to guarantee that JobKeeper would last even the initial five months.

"I mean, people don't want to be on JobKeeper and JobSeeker. They want to be in a job that's paying them."

‘Heartbreaking’ number of Australians needing assistance

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Thursday that the money was flying out to the public.

"You heard from the secretary of Treasury at the Covid Committee that this is record-breaking pace for money going out the door."

Frydenberg also described the terrible jobless numbers as "heartbreaking".

“These are families. These are friends. These are neighbours,” he said.

“594,000 fewer Australians are in the job – 325,000 of those are women. The youth unemployment rate is fallen has risen to 13.8 per cent up from 11.5 per cent.”

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