The federal government’s $130 billion JobKeeper package has attracted nearly 370,000 registrations since Monday, the Prime Minister said on Twitter.
“Our $130 billion plan is all about keeping Australians in jobs so businesses can bounce back quickly once the #coronavirus passes,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison added on Twitter.
On Tuesday morning, business subsidy registrations stood at 113,000, spiking by over 200,000 during the course of the day.
The program includes a flat payment of $1,500 a fortnight for employees kept on the payroll when a business sees their turnover fall by more than 30 per cent as a result of the coronavirus.
Also eligible are businesses that have experienced a downturn in revenue of 50 per cent or more with annual earnings of over $1 billion.
While the program commenced on Monday, 30 March, the first payments will be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May as monthly arrears from the Australian Taxation Office.
Speaking on ABC Radio on Tuesday, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann encouraged businesses to start paying their employees now, and claim back the subsidy later.
“Our feedback, certainly as we were putting this package together, the feedback we were getting from business is that just the government making this announcement will be a sufficient shot in the arm, and a sufficient boost in confidence for them to be able to make decisions to hold on to their employees,” Mr Cormann said.
“They understand, as I am sure most Australians would understand, the logistical exercise involved in setting this up in order to ensure they get access.”
In the meantime, he explained, businesses can make decision based on the knowledge that the government will be paying to the tune of $1,500 a fortnight for eligible employees in eligible businesses.
Asked what the effects on the economy will be given that the government has so far pledged 11 per cent of GDP to try and bolster the economy, Mr Cormann stressed that Australia “went into this in a comparatively stronger economic and fiscal position”.
“We were on track to deliver a surplus this year, having brought the budget back into balance last year. This is a necessary investment into our future economic prosperity,” Mr Cormann said, adding that the budget will contain revised forecasts and debt projections.