Number of Australians on JobKeeper reviewed: 3 million less than stated

May 22, 2020

By SBS en Español

The number of Australians receiving JobKeeper support payments during the coronavirus pandemic has dropped from 6.5 million to 3.5 million.


Highlights:

  • The number of beneficiaries is half of what was initially said.
  • It means that the cost of the jobkeeper will be 60 billion less than what was predicted.
  • 60 billion less is not "savings" or money available for other purposes, says the treasurer.
  • The Treasury Office singles out employers for not filling out the forms correctly. 
  • The treasurer assured that those who currently receive the payments will not be affected.

The treasury and the tax office revealed the reporting error in a joint statement Friday afternoon.

The error means that the estimated cost of the scheme has been reduced from $ 130 billion to $ 70 billion.

About 1,000 companies made "significant mistakes" in reporting the number of employees estimated to receive help. 

The most common mistake was reporting the amount of assistance they expected to receive rather than the number of employees expected to be eligible.

For example, instead of writing an eligible employee, companies wrote 1,500, the sum received every fortnight through the program.

Treasury officials provided evidence to a Senate investigation into the government's response to the coronavirus on Thursday, saying $ 8.1 billion had been paid through the program.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the error was "good news" and "most importantly," the error did not contain "consequences for JobKeeper payments that have already been made."

It is good news that the impact on the public portfolio of the program will not be as large as initially estimated.

The bi-weekly payments of $ 1,500 began to flow to employers earlier this month and are legislated until the end of September. The program is for review in June.

The Morrison government ruled out further extending the program to include casual and migrant workers.

The Treasurer says his overall view of the labor market is unaffected by the reporting error, with expectations that unemployment will rise to 10 percent.

The post about “Number of Australians on JobKeeper reviewed: 3 million less than stated" first appeared in the  SBS en Español website.

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