Thursday, 3 September 2020
Questions without Notice
[by video link] My question is to the Prime Minister. Lisa is a part-time tutor with two kids. What is the Prime Minister's response to Lisa, who says, 'We don't have any savings, and my partner is unwell and unable to seek work to assist with bills. I am so afraid of what will happen to my family if the proposed change to JobKeeper rate goes through.'
The income supports that the government is providing continue for JobKeeper until the end of March; and the JobSeeker arrangements continue to the end of December. As I indicated when I announced these matters with the Treasurer, it is most likely that we will seek to extend those further. However, we will of course consider how we do that closer to that time, because what is very important in the COVID-19 pandemic is that you make decisions based on the best possible information that you have at that time. For JobKeeper, it's important to provide a longer lead time on where those payments are going so businesses and others can be aware of those changes and enable their arrangements to support those changes as they come into effect.
For those who have been on JobKeeper there will be firms that, thankfully, no longer need JobKeeper after the end of September. They will no longer be down that 30 per cent on turnover, and their businesses will be going forward. As a result of that six-month support at that record level, that will mean that those who have been on JobKeeper, many of whom are on zero hours—and it is our hope that those businesses no longer have any need of JobKeeper—will be able to go forward with even further hours.
For those whose incomes are reduced, that's what JobSeeker is there for. JobSeeker will continue to be there to support their incomes as those types of benefits have always been designed to do. It is at a higher level and it also has an income-earning threshold of $300. This will effectively almost triple an income area, which enables people to earn up to $300 as well as receiving, and they can qualify for JobSeeker payments on top of that. That is why JobKeeper and JobSeeker work together. That is why we are continuing to extend JobKeeper and JobSeeker, to provide that support through this coronavirus period.
Now, it is true that seven out of eight states and territories have had great success in suppressing the virus and that is enabling their economies to move forward again. I was talking to Premier McGowan this morning and he was telling me about what's occurring in Western Australia. And I welcome that, because whether it's Western Australian businesses or New South Wales businesses, or how any of the other states and territories are going—
We did, actually! I welcome that. But those areas, like Victoria, which are doing it much tougher will obviously have a greater share of the JobKeeper and Jobseeker support because that is how the program is designed.
We will transition those programs, because that's the responsible thing to do, but we will ensure that those programs of support remain there for those, like the person you have indicated, who continue to need them. (Time expired)