Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Questions without Notice
Can the Treasurer explain why an 18-year-old living at home who's been working a shift a week at a McDonald's franchise receives the full $1,500 JobKeeper wage subsidy, but a full-time Australian worker at dnata, providing catering services to Qantas, with a mortgage to repay, is not eligible?
Firstly, let me say, we very much understand the difficult circumstances that businesses and workers right across the country are facing with this coronavirus pandemic. As the honourable member said himself in this House yesterday: this is a health crisis that has created an economic crisis. And we responded with the $130 billion JobKeeper program. We set out very clearly what the criteria for eligibility under that program were—including for full-time workers, part-time workers, long-term casuals—based on an established definition in the Fair Work Act. As well, we effectively doubled the jobseeker payment, the old Newstart, to $1,100 a fortnight. We have taken unprecedented economic steps. Some people will be eligible for the jobseeker program and others will be eligible for the JobKeeper program. More than one million Australians are on the jobseeker program and when it comes to the JobKeeper program over 800,000 businesses have formally enrolled, representing 5½ million Australian workers.