Senate debates

Thursday, 5 August 2021


Treasury Laws Amendment (COVID-19 Economic Response No. 2) Bill 2021; In Committee

11:27 am

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | Hansard source

JobKeeper itself is no longer in operation. What is in operation now is two particular streams of support. One is the COVID-19 disaster payments, which are triggered by a range of conditions being met—the Commonwealth hotspot definition being in place and restrictions by a state or territory being in place. Those conditions then result in individuals who have lost more than eight hours of work, as a result of those restrictions, being eligible for payments.

The other stream of payments is the business support payments, which at this stage are being delivered by states and territories. This bill provides a legislative underpinning for the Commonwealth to be able to deliver those payments if a state or territory has difficulty administratively being able to do so. At this stage we don't anticipate needing to do that; however, we think it is prudent to have the terms there.

The bill provides the contingency for these arrangements to operate through the remainder of this year and next year. It is not be the government's expectation that such programs would be necessary throughout that duration, but we think that it is prudent, given the uncertainties we've seen with the advent of the delta strain, to have those contingencies in place. Noting also the practical consideration of parliament being interrupted for an election at some point next year, it is logical for the timing to run for that period of time. Equally, we note that these are extraordinary measures and provisions, which is why having a clear sunset there was an important principle to bring to the legislation.


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