Labor calls for Senate inquiry into $60 billion JobKeeper error

Elias Hubbard
May 25, 2020

The treasurer is still ruling out expanding eligibility for the JobKeeper payment after a $60 billion accounting error meant there's more money in the budget.

She said the chair of the Senate committee into the COVID-19 response Labor's Katy Gallagher will be calling on Mr Frydenberg to give evidence to the committee.

According to the recent revision of the program, its total cost amounts to around $70 billion, almost half of the initial estimation of $130 billion.

The number of Australians receiving JobKeeper support payments during the coronavirus pandemic has been revised down from 6.5 million to 3.5 million.

Treasury and the tax office revealed the reporting error in a joint statement on Friday afternoon.

The massively underspent JobKeeper scheme won't be expanded to workers who missed out, but it could be extended beyond six months for the battered tourism sector.

Arts and entertainment workers, university staff and many casual employees have been deliberately excluded from the scheme.

"Migrant workers or people on visas who haven't been eligible so far, there's a lot of them that work for small businesses and I know it's been a concern for a lot of employers out there", Council chief executive officer Peter Strong said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has attributed the amended costings to a "reporting error". "That's still a very large amount of money that taxpayers of the current generation and future generations will need to pay back".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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