Labor latches onto withdrawal of JobKeeper

·2-min read

At least 56,000 people have been left out of work since the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme ended in March.

Labor says the jobs losses confirm the Morrison government was too quick to withdraw support.

"For too many Australians the end of JobKeeper meant the end of their jobs," Labor deputy leader Richard Marles said on Tuesday.

"Under Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg, the pandemic support ends before the pandemic ends."

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy initially predicted between 100,000 to 150,000 people could lose their job as a result of the JobKeeper program ending.

He has since arrived at a more modest figure.

"Early indicators suggest while there have been some job losses associated with the end of the program, and there may be more in the future, the strength of the broader labour market has meant many of these individuals are finding jobs," Dr Kennedy told a Senate hearing in Canberra.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates some 56,000 people have lost their jobs in the four weeks since JobKeeper finished.

"We would expect many of those that have lost employment at the end of JobKeeper to regain employment in coming weeks," Dr Kennedy said.

However, Labor says there are more than 500,000 casual workers in Victoria who are at risk of no income during a statewide lockdown.

"Victorians are only in this position because Scott Morrison has failed on fit for purpose quarantine and the vaccine rollout," Mr Marles said.

Treasury estimates a typical capital city lockdown costs the economy about $100 million a day.

The Commonwealth has so far declined to provide additional support to Victoria during the lockdown.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told parliament Victoria had received the largest amount of federal support per capita than any other state.

He said because the lockdown was short, the federal government concluded it could be managed locally.

To date, there has been $45 billion delivered to families and businesses in Victoria, while the state government's contribution had been $13 billion.

Of the Commonwealth assistance, $28 billion was provided in JobKeeper support.

"We anticipated at the time of the budget there would be outbreaks and short lockdowns," Mr Frydenberg said.

"That's why we provided an unprecedented amount in this budget and previous budget."

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