Morrison Government offers more support for Victorian businesses

| August 7, 2020

More help is on its way for hundreds of thousands of struggling Victorian businesses and their employees, with today’s announcement by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to make it easier for Victorian businesses and their staff to qualify for JobKeeper.

Under a new eligibility test, businesses now only need to show a fall in turnover in the quarter to the end of September, compared to the same period last year. The previous rules announced on 21 July meant that companies had to show a fall in turnover in the June, September and December quarters of this year in order to remain eligible for the wage subsidy.

However, with companies restarting in June as restrictions were eased, there was risk many businesses would not meet the scheme’s turnover reduction threshold in the September quarter.

Further changes include coverage for people employed on 1 July, rather than 1 March, ensuring new staff will be able to receive the payments if their employer is struggling.

The changes follow meetings between the Federal Treasurer, officials, the Victorian Chamber and members, calling on the Federal Government to continue to do what it can to stem the growing number of business closures and job losses that have been triggered by restrictions across metropolitan Melbourne and Victoria. Today’s announcement shows the Federal Government is listening.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra said today’s announcement has come at a time when Victorian businesses need it most.

“The Victorian Chamber has worked with the Federal Government, providing direct input from our members, and it is pleasing to see the changes announced today reflect the concerns we have raised with the Treasurer.

“The Stage 4 lockdown has placed enormous financial and emotional strain on Victorian employers and their employees, and this support has come at a crucial time in providing some certainty and clarity for the future.

“Tighter JobKeeper rules for the second phase of the scheme were looming as a further setback to business confidence, so today’s announcement ensures valuable support can continue to be accessed by business at a time when the Victorian economy has all but been brought to a grinding halt.

“The announcement will provide a major boost for Victoria’s struggling businesses – however, we know that Victorian businesses will need more support and more commitment from all levels of government and people across Australia to buy local and buy Victorian made.”