JobKeeper subsidy might have to be extended to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’

May 31, 2020

A new wave of unemployed Australians desperate for work are likely to hit the jobs market in October and could result in a “fiscal cliff”.

Experts say the winding up of JobKeeper, reduction to Jobseeker payments, end to mortgage repayment holidays and completion of the early release of superannuation scheme could send the economy into a tailspin.

AMP chief economist Dr Shane Oliver warned the nation’s true financial state would come to the fore in October when the financial stimulus and support packages dry up.

“JobKeeper is estimated to be protecting 3.5 million jobs and by the time we get to September a lot of those jobs will be able to stand on their own two feet,” he said.

“But there could still be a minority who still need help in October which is why it makes sense for the Government to keep their options open.

“For example tourism may need further support beyond that period.”

Dr Oliver said unemployment in October could hit 10 per cent – in April it was 6.2 per cent.

Under the $70 billion JobKeeper scheme those eligible receive $1500 per fortnight and payments end on September 27.

Latest figures shows 955,200 businesses have enrolled for JobKeeper – of these more than 811,600 applications have been processed covering more than 3.1 million employees.

While for 1.6 million Jobseeker recipients they have been receiving up to $1162 per fortnight during COVID-19 and have not had to look for work to be eligible.

This amount on the previously-named Newstart allowance was increased by $550 per fortnight during the pandemic and will drop back down in October when recipients have to start looking for work again.

The Reserve Bank of Australia governor Dr Philip Lowe has warned of the post-coronavirus economic fallout and said JobKeeper might have to be extended.

“It’s very important that we do not withdraw fiscal stimulus too early,” he said on Thursday.

Chartered accountant and the principal of Mr Taxman, Adrian Raftery said “it’s going to be a tough job market in October and you wouldn’t want to be unemployed then”.

“By all means take advantage of your $1500 a fortnight, good luck to you in terms of you now but if you try and do the wrong thing you’ll lose out,” he said.

He said many younger Australians had discovered “new found wealth” during the pandemic, but said these government handouts were only a short-term lifeline.

“In October the tide will be going out and we will see which businesses will be swimming naked and going belly over and we will see those businesses who go well,” he said.

He said many younger Australians who are able to live at home with their parents have never been wealthier while accepting JobKeeper.

“They are living with mum and dad and only earned a few hundred dollars previously but have qualified for JobKeeper and they are saving up like no tomorrow,” Mr Raftery said.

This article was first published here on 31 May 2020 in the Herald Sun.







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