Huge $130 billion wage subsidy

By James Bennett

The Federal Government has offered an unprecedented $130 billion subsidy during the next six months for businesses, to help people keep their jobs.

The JobKeeper payment will see the government pay up to $1500 (before tax) per employee per fortnight in wages for eligible businesses.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the "economic lifeline" would most likely help save six million Australians jobs.

“We will pay employers to pay their employees and make sure they do; to keep them in the businesses that employs them and get ready together to bounce back on the other side,” Mr Morrison said.

“This plan is about keeping those businesses together by keeping these employees in these businesses.

“Our plan will see our businesses large and small right across our entire economy, share the load with our welfare system to lever these important income supports.

“Our JobKeeper plan sees every Australian worker the same way; no matter what you earn.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the weeks ahead would be tougher for businesses.

“This $1 500 payment is a flat payment . . . and is the equivalent of around 70 per cent of the median wage, and represents about 100 per cent of of the median wage in those sectors most heavily impacted by the coronavirus like retail, hospitality and tourism,” he said.

“It will be available to full and part-time workers, sole traders and, in the case of casuals, for those who have being with their employer for 12 months or more.”

Mr Morrison said Australia would not fall into economic hardship, although there was a real chance of other countries doing so.

The JobKeeper plan is the third Federal Government stimulus package, and the largest in Australian history.

“Some will say it's too little, others will say it's too much — but I say we must work together,” the Prime Minister said.