The Govt Effectively Just Told Casuals To Get Stuffed Despite That Extra $60B For JobKeeper

You’d think that shaking $60 billion from the couch cushions would allow you to do… Just about anything, honestly. But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this morning said the government has no plans to extend the scope or duration of the JobKeeper payment, despite Friday’s revelation that the scheme will cost much, much less than originally forecast.

Speaking to ABC’s News Breakfast Monday morning, Frydenberg said the government has “no wholesale plans” to rejig the massive payment, which provides $1,500 to eligible employees whose jobs have been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

While some 3.5 million workers are eventually predicted to receive the payment – down from the original estimate of 6.5 million – it does not cover casual employees who have been at their job for less than twelve months, nor does it apply to temporary visa holders.

This means a huge slab of young people living in Australia may be unable to access the support payment, and visa restrictions around the JobSeeker supplement make life particularly tough for some international students and migrant workers.

Some university staff are also unable to access JobKeeper, while freelance workers in other sectors, like the arts, are copping it big-time.

But Frydenberg dismissed the idea of boosting both payments, framing the $60 billion error as a win for future taxpayers tasked with recouping the expenditure:

These were in place for a temporary period of time for the coronavirus pandemic… When it comes to JobKeeper, the others payments, they’re temporary, targeted, and proportionate to the challenge we face.

JobKeeper is slated to run until September 27 this year, but the government is set to review the payment next month. Don’t hold your breath for any big changes, either in scope or duration.