THOUSANDS of central Victorian workers will be somewhat relieved at yesterday's confirmation of an extension of the desperately needed JobKeeper program by six months.
The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed JobKeeper will be maintained in its current form until the end of September, with the level of support offered to qualifying workers tapering through to March.
From October to December the payment will reduce to $1200 per full time employee per fortnight, and $750 for employees working 20 hours or less per week.
Then, from the start of 2021, payments will reduce to $1000 for full time workers and $650 for part timers.
The government's logic for the slide in support is based on there being a gradual economic recovery that hopefully dilutes the need for at least some of the support.
It might not be what everyone wanted, but it was important the government find the right balance between what can be afforded, what is needed and what our recovery rate will be.
While payments reduce at a reasonable rate, in line with predictions of economic recovery and trading conditions picking up, the government must be prepared to re-visit this scenario if the recovery is not what it needs to be.
Crucially, Mr Morrison also stated he was "leaning heavily" into the idea that JobSeeker would continue at a higher rate than the old unemployment benefit after December.
It's no secret that Victoria's coronavirus outbreak forced a revision of government plans to wind back support earlier, and has instead been (rightfully) forced to extend JobKeeper and other supports for businesses that can't reopen fully or reopen at all.
It's also no secret that the unemployment benefit provided to Australians not in paid work was woefully inadequate and long overdue for an overhaul and an increase prior to this pandemic.
If the one good thing that comes from all this, at the end of this, is that the support provided to our most needy and vulnerable citizens is permanently increased by an amount our country can sustain, then so be it.