Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed in a press conference on Thursday that JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments have been locked in for six months, regardless of whether lockdown measures are lifted before then.
“I have always considered six months as the period in which we have been operating and will operate these lifeline measures in the economy, which is the JobSeeker supplement and JobKeeper payment,” he said.
“We have bought that time to find the road out, and we intend to use it wisely.”
Also read: Does your employer qualify for JobKeeper?
It comes as Morrison flagged lockdown measures could begin to ease after four weeks, in which the government will try to put in resources to stop the spread of the virus once businesses begin to operate as usual again.
“Our goal is to make sure we can get the economy at a level which would not require those extreme levels of income supports, and the economy would be able to support people on those incomes into a self-sustaining way...that time is six months,” he said.
After that six months is up, Morrison said income support could ease, however the “specifics of it” are still being nutted out.
“Ideally the economy will lift to a level of activity where people’s wages and incomes can be supported again, where they can get the hours, days - they can get back working again and be in a position to support themselves and not rely on JobKeeper,” he said.
The prime minister also addressed the issue of debt and deficit as a result of its $320 billion expenditure on income support measures.
“Debt and deficit concerns me greatly...We will have a plan to deal with it,” he said.
Businesses to ‘take steps now’ to avoid missing out on JobKeeper
Employers have been told to “take steps now” to ensure they receive the JobKeeper payment, in a reminder from the Australian Tax Office.
The scheme will wee workers at eligible businesses receive payments of $1,500 per fortnight for the next six months, with enrolment for the payment set to open on Monday 20 April.
“We know this payment is vital for the community, and we want every eligible employer to be ready to receive the JobKeeper Payments to help keep Australians in jobs.”
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