World Socialist Web Site wsws.org 27 Mar, 2021 04:30 am

Australian Treasury flags 150,000 job losses as JobKeeper ends

Australian Treasury flags 150,000 job losses as JobKeeper ends
With 1.1 million workers still depending on the wage subsidy, the real impact will likely be far greater.

After months of government cover-up of the expected losses, Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy told an Australian parliamentary committee on Wednesday that his department expected up to 150,000 workers to become jobless, and indicated that up to 110,000 small businesses could collapse, following the end of JobKeeper.Kennedy reported that in February, 88,000 workers being paid wages via the JobKeeper scheme remained on zero or very low hours and 110,000 small businesses receiving JobKeeper subsidies had seen their December quarter turnovers fall by more than 75 percent compared to 2019, throwing doubt on their survival.While the JobKeeper wage subsidy was primarily a $90 billion handout to big business, it did keep a significant number of workers employed on at least a part-time basis, and stave off insolvency for many small businesses and sole traders.With the slashing of the already inadequate JobKeeper and JobSeeker income support schemes, any necessary reintroduction of state border closures, lockdowns and capacity restrictions could mean the end for many small businesses and sole traders who have survived the past 12 months.

While the corporate media has again focused this week on mounting sexual misconduct allegations against the government, the impact of the JobKeeper and JobSeeker measures on workers, especially those in low-paid and insecure jobs, and the unemployed has been largely buried from view.4 percent last year, will slow as a result of the termination of JobKeeper and the JobSeeker supplement.

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