Desperate Aussie businesses still signing up to JobKeeper
Exclusive: Thousands of cash-strapped businesses rushed to sign up to JobKeeper last month despite the payments being scaled back.
About 15,000 businesses nationally signed up to the Federal Government's scheme in October with Victorians the most in need - about 270 businesses a day sought help there.
The new Australian Taxation Office data showed from September 30 through to October 30 about 8110 Victorian businesses reached out for urgent financial help, followed by NSW at 3300, Qld at 1830, WA at 892, SA at 575, Tasmania at 146, ACT at 87 and NT at 46.
Employers need to satisfy a decline in turnover test to qualify for JobKeeper payments and from the end of September payments fell into two tiers.
They fell from a flat payment of $1500 per fortnight to $1200 for full-time employees.
For those working less than 20 hours per week payments dropped to $750 per fortnight.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the scheme has provided critical financial support for Australian businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The temporary JobKeeper payment continues to be an important economic lifeline for hundreds of thousands of businesses across the country," he said.
"By design, JobKeeper goes to the areas and the sectors of the economy that need it most."
JobKeeper has helped keep more than 900,000 businesses and 3.5 million Australians afloat during the pandemic.
It's expected by the end of December about 60 per cent of JobKeeper recipients will be from Victoria.
The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia's chief executive officer Peter Strong said many small operators were still struggling and it remained to be seen if they would survive once JobKeeper ends next year.
"There will be some businesses that won't survive," he said.
"It's hard to imagine if you haven't had a decent income for six or seven months how do you come out of it."
JobKeeper is estimated to cost $101 billion and so far more than $69 billion has been paid out under the program.
Payments are being scaled back again in January will be reduced to $1000 per fortnight for full-time employees and for those working less than 20 hours they will be $650 per fortnight.
The scheme is due to end on March 28, 2021.
30 September 30 October
Vic 304,510 312,617 +8107
NSW 350,434 353,731 +3297
Qld 191,129 192,963 +1834
WA 95,556 96,448 +892
SA 60,335 60,910 +575
Tas 16,707 16,853 +146
ACT 12,216 12,293 +77
NT 5365 5411 +46
Source: Australian Taxation Office.
Originally published as Desperate Australian businesses still signing up to JobKeeper