On the same day that Australia confirmed 600,000 jobs were lost in April, the Prime Minister has described the figures as “tough” and “heartbreaking”.
New Zealand announced today an extension of its own wage subsidy scheme and a tightening of eligibility.
But asked if he would consider extending the $1500 a fortnight JobKeeper scheme beyond September 27, the Prime Minister offered little hope of an extension.
“We don’t want an Australian economy that’s propped up by subsidies,’’ he replied.
In parliament, Mr Morrison went further warning the handouts could not continue indefinitely.
“We cannot have an economy addicted to the measures we have in place,’’ he told parliament.
“They will break them eventually and that is a day we look forward to.”
RELATED: PM addresses ‘very tough’ day for Aussies
RELATED: PM fears ‘even deeper impact’
Senior ministers have told news.com.au today there’s “no way” Australia can afford to extend a scheme that costs $20 billion a month.
Liberal MPs warned that New Zealand was not a good indicator of what will happen here because the scheme was already substantially shorter than the six months program the Morrison Government has outlined.
But the Prime Minister could consider further assistance to the tourism industry which is likely to be hit hard by border closures for years to come.
Around six million workers now rely on JobKeeper to pay $750 a week of their salary. Businesses must prove they have suffered a downturn of 30 per cent in turnover.
Earlier, the Prime Minister confirmed that a Treasury review would consider “adjustments” to JobKeeper in June.
“This was a program that, while brought together at a very quick pace, was not one that was done in undue haste. It was done carefully,’’ he said.
“There was important design work that was done that accorded with the principles that I set out in early March to ensure that these were temporary measures, that they relied and drew on existing payment mechanisms – in this case through the Australian Taxation Office – and that were scalable, and this is all the case.
“The time frame for this was set out at the time it went through the parliament and 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.”
In parliament, the Prime Minister clashed with Labor leader Anthony Albanese over the casuals who have missed out on JobKeeper.
“My question is to the Prime Minister: The number of people employed in Australia fell by 600,000 in April. This followed the Prime Minister’s decision to deny a wage subsidy to casual workers, arts and entertainment workers, and workers in the university and local government sectors,’’ he said.
“Aren’t more Australians out of work today because the Prime Minister deliberately excluded them from the JobKeeper wage subsidy?”
RELATED: ‘It should go’: Calls to end JobKeeper
RELATED: JobKeeper shock as PM considers shake-up
In response, the Prime Minister accused Labor of “white-anting.”
“It’s disappointing … when the Labor Party says they’re engaging in a bipartisan effort, it doesn’t take long, Mr Speaker, for the white-anting to begin,’’ he said.
“The truth is, six million Australians are benefiting from a JobKeeper program.”
New Zealand’s budget has today extended its own JobKeeper scheme for a further eight weeks but it has tightened eligibility for the scheme.
From June 10, businesses that have suffered a 50 per cent loss of revenue – compared to the same time last year – will be eligible for the subsidy extension.
Previously, businesses were required to prove a 30 per cent figure downturn.
The cash will be paid to eligible companies as an eight-week lump sum to employers at $585 a week, for full-time workers.