LIBERAL Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson has defended the federal government's $130-billion JobKeeper program, saying it will deliver a real lifeline to thousands of businesses and workers across regional Victoria.
It comes after Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters raised concerns about 'big gaps' in the wage subsidy scheme, which the parliament has since passed.
"It is disappointing that Ms Chesters could not be more positive about the JobKeeper plan which is providing so much support to Bendigo residents," Ms Henderson said.
She said Job Keeper - "one of the most significant economic investments by any government in history" - would help keep the economy afloat during a very difficult time.
"Some six million eligible Australians will receive a $1500 a fortnight wage subsidy," Ms Henderson said.
"To date, 745,000 business have registered for JobKeeper with the Australian Taxation Office.
"This wage subsidy will support not just full-time and part-time workers but also sole traders as well as casuals who've been with their employer for more than 12 months."
Ms Henderson said the community expected its political representatives to work together to combat the coronavirus pandemic and get through the other side.
"At this time, no-one cares about politics," she said.
FEDERAL Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has raised concerns about the number of people that will miss out on support from the government's $130-billion Job Keeper package.
The wage subsidy scheme, intended to keep millions of people in jobs, is tracking towards passing parliament this evening in a special one-off sitting.
Ms Chesters said the JobKeeper package had big gaps and plenty of workers would lose out.
"I feel for the casual workers and those who haven't had employment with their employer for at least 12 months," she said.
"It's the workers who might be working in a new small business, university staff, disability workers, the arts and entertainment sectors and local government workers who all miss out."
Eligible businesses will receive a flat wage subsidy of $1500 a fortnight for each full and part-time worker, and casual workers on their books for at least 12 months.
Casual workers employed for less than a year and those on a workers' visa are ineligible.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the JobKeeper program would work alongside the former Newstart allowance payment, now termed JobSeeker.
"When you're putting these lifelines in place you have to draw a line somewhere," Mr Morrison said.
Ms Chesters said the JobKeeper scheme was designed to be a one-size-fits-all model, but all businesses and employment relationships were different.
"The pressure is on the treasurer to extend the subsidy to workers who miss out," she said.
Ms Chesters was worried about the time it would take for businesses to receive their JobKeeper payments.
The $130-billion wage subsidy scheme passed the lower house of federal parliament this evening.
It was in the upper house at the time of writing.
"The government hasn't been able to answer questions raised locally about cash flow for businesses," Ms Chesters said.
"The current model is that you need to have paid your workers for a month before you receive the money through the tax office to qualify."
The Federal Government's JobKeeper information for employers says "employees that were in your employment on March 1 and continue to be employed while you are claiming the JobKeeper payment" are eligible.
The JobKeeper payment is available from March 30 until September 27.
Parliament was recalled for a special one-off sitting to pass the legislation needed for the JobKeeper package.
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