Media Release 30 March 2020

JobKeeper payments provide lifeline for employers to retain staff and the ability to bounce back from Coronavirus

Employers and workers have been given a lifeline to avoid layoffs under a new wage subsidy scheme announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison today.

The JobKeeper payment, worth $1,500 a fortnight per employee, will be available over at least the next six months for businesses severely impacted by COVID-19.

Since the Coronavirus crisis began, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been consulting with members and communicating what they need to the Government.

We have heard a consistent message from employers and sole traders that many needed help to keep staff in employment or would have been forced to stand workers down or make them redundant.

These measures, along with a six-month moratorium on rental evictions will provide businesses with a path towards keeping their employees engaged and on the books.

The Victorian Chamber acknowledges the work of the Morrison Government to date, including the additional welfare payments. Today’s announcement demonstrates that Prime Minister Morrison and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg are listening and acting to keep business in business and people in jobs.

To be attributed to Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra:

“All Victorian businesses affected by COVID-19 must use these measures to help them survive these difficult times. For those who have already made the tough decision to fire workers and close, or put their business into a hiatus, this brings an opportunity to bring employees back on board.

“COVID-19 is a health and economic crisis, and one that will take months, if not years, to recover from. But we must keep a light on for our businesses to be in a position to bounce back on the other side.

“These payments may not mean keeping staff engaged on a full-time basis, and instead see some become part-time until the business is operating at capacity again. This is better than the alternative of potentially months of being full-time unemployed.

“We know that for Victorian business to bounce back stronger after the COVID-19 crisis, we will need a fit and healthy workforce. The impact of having hundreds of thousands of Victorians, many unemployed for the first time in their lives, would have had a long-lasting and damaging impact on our economy.

“This measure will keep employees connected with their employers, their colleagues and in some ways their old lives while we go through this unprecedented crisis.”

Media Contact

All media enquiries may be directed to the Media and Communications Manager

03 8662 5310

0423 883 945

media@victorianchamber.com.au

For all other enquiries please contact the Victorian Chamber on 03 8662 5333

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