16 March 2021

Anika Wells MP: My question is to the Prime Minister. More than 5,500 workers in my electorate of Lilley are going to lose JobKeeper at the end of the month. That's nearly $3 million in support that's about to be ripped away. So my question is: how many of these workers who are on JobKeeper are going to lose their jobs now because of your cuts? 

 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg: The good news for the member for Lilley is that over 19,000 people have graduated off JobKeeper in her electorate. That is a 74 per cent graduation rate. Somebody
said in this place about JobKeeper, 'We haven't said to extend it.' Who was that? The Leader of the Opposition. Then you have the member for Rankin, who can't get a question, not even in budget week, who said, 'There's no substitute for an extension of JobKeeper.' So the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Rankin are not on the same page, not just on JobKeeper but in a lot of other areas too. The reality is JobKeeper's been a remarkable program. At a cost of around $90 billion, it's supported 3.6 million Australian workers and nearly a million Australian businesses. But it was always a temporary, targeted program. It was emergency support. Initially, it was for six months, and we extended it for another six months. But the advice from Treasury is that as the economy strengthens if you leave JobKeeper in place it has a number of characteristics that are counterproductive to the economy. It prevents an official allocation of workers to other roles, and it can prop up some unsustainable businesses. So the reality is, as JobKeeper comes to the end, other economic supports are in place, put there by the Morrison government—the tax cuts, the JobMaker Hiring Credit, the infrastructure projects that were brought forward, the training places, the 340,000 skilled places. These are other economic support programs that are designed to create jobs across the economy. The other key point is that there is $240 billion on household and business balance sheets that was not there this time last year. That is money that will be spent across the economy, helping to create jobs. So JobKeeper will come to an end, but there are other measures being put in place to help create jobs and to see Australians get back to work.