JobKeeper cuts hit hard


Ewen McRae

By Ewen McRae

Workers in hard-hit areas in Melbourne’s west stand to miss out on millions of dollars in fortnightly payments with the JobKeeper supplement dropping from $1500 to $1200, a recent study has shown.

The federal government JobKeeper program – a support measure that subsidised $1500 of eligible employees’ wages each fortnight – has been extended until March next year with payments to reduce over time.

The first $300 drop in the subsidy for employees working over 20 hours per week came into effect on September 28, with the payment slashed to $750 for employees working less than 20 hours per week.

The report, Crossing the Fiscal Cliff, recently released by The McKell Institute’s Edward Cavanough, revealed that Caroline Springs would be among the most heavily impacted by the payment reduction, with workers facing a reduction of $3.66 million.

Melton workers face a hit of $1.6 million, while Taylors Hill ($2.6 million), Hillside ($2.4 million) and Diggers Rest ($185,000) were also worse off.

Moorabool will be less severely impacted, with many businesses already back open under reduced restrictions. Bacchus Marsh faces a loss of just over $1 million, while Ballan faces a cut of $199,000.

Other Brimbank suburbs including Deer Park, Albion and Delahey faced a reduction of between $1.5 million and $2.3 million in fortnightly payments.

“The JobKeeper program has been essential in enabling employers to retain staff in preparation for a return to a degree of economic normality once the worst of COVID-19 has subsided,” Mr Cavanough, the Institute’s policy director, said.

“Payments will again be reduced in January 2021… to $1000 a fortnight – a decision expected to have real consequences on employment, significantly impacting aggregate demand and ultimately dampening and slowing the pace of economic recovery.”