Attention is turning to the losers in the government’s JobKeeper scheme. Picture: iStock
Attention is turning to the losers in the government’s JobKeeper scheme. Picture: iStock

Why you missed out on the PM's $1500

The PM has just announced special new payments to keep businesses afloat and workers in jobs - but not everyone will get the Federal Government's "JobKeeper" subsidy.

During a press conference yesterday afternoon, Mr Morrison announced that eligible workers would receive a $130 billion wage subsidy of $1500 per fortnight for a maximum of six months as the coronavirus crisis rages on.

Broadly speaking, the generous JobKeeper payment will be made available to full-time, part-time and casual workers as well as sole traders - including those working in the gig economy - who have been affected by the downturn sparked by the virus.

WHO IS EXCLUDED?

But there are important caveats.

Businesses with less than $1 billion in revenue will only be able to claim the subsidy - and pass it on to individual workers - if they experience a 30 per cent drop in sales, or a 50 per cent hit for firms with more than $1 billion in revenue.

And while the government believes around six million eligible Australians will end up receiving the payment, it will be restricted to staff who were working for an eligible business on March 1 and are at least 16 years old.

Casual workers will need to have been working for the company for at least one year to receive the payment.

To qualify, you must also be an Australian citizen - or hold a permanent visa, a protected special category visa or a non-protected special category visa and have been living in Australia continually for a decade or more.

New Zealand citizens on a special category visa will also be eligible.

FOREIGN WORKERS MISS OUT

Under the rules, countless foreign workers will be excluded from the payments, which is a huge problem for the individuals themselves and for certain industries that typically hire foreign workers out of necessity, such as hospitality and retail.

Valerio Domenici, who owns Zucchero Caffe Bar in North Sydney, appeared on Today this morning to explain businesses like his would be affected by the exclusion.

Mr Domenici explained that while he had tried to hire Australian workers first, he had struggled to fill job vacancies and as a result, relied on foreign workers to fill the gaps.

The majority of his workforce won't qualify for the new subsidy.

"I'm a little bit disappointed … my main concern is my workers," he told hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon.

"I have tried to employ Australians as much as possible, being Australian myself, but I have not been able to."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the government's $130 billion wage subsidy package yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the government's $130 billion wage subsidy package yesterday. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

He said his cafe, which had only been open for around seven months, was struggling to stay afloat despite moving to takeaway-only and engaging the services of food delivery platform Uber Eats.

"We are struggling. We're trying to put some things in place so that we can soften the blow," he said.

"But, of course, for us, our concern is looking after our team - they look after us, so we need to look after them," he said.

"People from other countries are actually a big part of our workforce. If we don't have any sort of safety net for them, whatever it may be, we are going to be in a bit of strife because these people have still got rents to pay, food and all the other bills we all have as well."

He said there was "no safety net" for foreign workers and that while it would be easier for him to close down and let workers "fend for themselves", his main concern was his hardworking staff.

OTHER BIG LOSERS

Other Australians who will also miss out - including those whose employers were not eligible, and those who had been with their company for less than one year, have taken to social media to voice their concerns with the eligibility criteria, using the #WageSubsidyForAll and #NoWorkerLeftBehind hashtags.

"I work at Toll as a casual. I've been stood down. Tolls revenue needs to drop 50 per cent for me to get #jobkeeper. Not likely to happen. It should be 30 per cent for big not small business," one Twitter user wrote.

Another explained their immunocompromised sister who had been "risking her life working in disability services everyday" would lose out as she had not been in the role for more than 12 months.

And others pointed out that women were particularly at risk of missing out, as they were more likely to be in casual work for less than 12 months.

$750 PAYMENTS BEGIN

The new subsidy comes as around 6.5 million Australians eligible for the first round of

$750 Economic Support Payments begin to receive the cash in their accounts from today.

That payment has been earmarked for Australians who receive a range of government benefits.

It includes those on the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Carer Allowance, Parenting Payment, Wife Pension, Widow B Pension, ABSTUDY (Living Allowance), Austudy, Bereavement Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Partner Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Farm Household Allowance, Family Tax Benefit A, Family Tax Benefit B and Double Orphan Pension.

You will also receive the payment if you have a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Veteran Gold Card or if you get the Department of Veterans' Affairs Veteran Service Pension, Veteran Income Support Supplement, Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments or War Widow(er) Pension.

However, the decision to restrict that payment to welfare recipients only has caused some confusion and anger among the general public, with many questioning why many working Australians had been excluded.

 

Originally published as Who misses out on ScoMo's $1500



5 things under debate at next council meeting

premium_icon 5 things under debate at next council meeting

State forces Gympie council to take closer look at future of $400 million asset

Alcohol sales plummet post-panic buying

premium_icon Alcohol sales plummet post-panic buying

Aussie liquor producers suffer through worst month on record.

COVID-19 claims another Gympie event victim

premium_icon COVID-19 claims another Gympie event victim

Yet another Gympie event has had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic