22 March 2021
It's estimated that one-fifth of JobKeeper payments made to major listed companies in the second quarter of 2020 went to firms who grew their profits during the pandemic. That could be up to $10 billion squandered. JobKeeper was supposed to keep Australian workers in jobs, not pad the pockets of billionaire corporate fat cats like Gerry Harvey, who now brags about a 185 per cent profit increase in September last year, paying himself $100 million in dividends while refusing to pay back a cent of what he received from Australian taxpayers.
Instead of using taxpayer funds to pad the pockets of Gerry Harvey, the Prime Minister and Treasurer should have used their extensive discretion to make sure that support was going to where it was most needed. What the Treasurer did use his discretion for instead was to make sure that the 5,500 dnata workers, many of whom live and work in my electorate of Lilley, were excluded from JobKeeper—excluded altogether—because they worked for a foreign owned company. So, while Gerry Harvey received $20 million in support from Australian taxpayers, Steve, from the north side of Brisbane, who has worked in aviation catering for over 22 years, was denied JobKeeper when he was stood down from his role at dnata, because of who his boss is. Corporate welfare doesn't get much more twisted than that. Just imagine what we could have done with the $20 million the government gave to Gerry Harvey rather than to the people who really needed it. It's a colossal waste, and the responsibility for that goes straight back to the PM and to the Treasurer.