Both PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have urged Aussies not to rush to conclusions, announcing on several occasions that the fate of JobKeeper will be made known on 23 July.
But despite hope that JobKeeper could be extended in hard-hit sectors like aviation and hospitality, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann did not pick his words on Friday morning, instead telling Sky News that JobKeeper will definitely be put to rest at the end of September.
“JobKeeper and the enhanced JobSeeker arrangements in their current form are coming to an end at the end of September,” Mr Cormann said.
Reaffirming that there will be some sort of continued support moving forward, Mr Cormann stressed it will not be just a “replication of what was there before”.
“We are providing historically unprecedented, crisis0level fiscal support into the economy, to business, to working families and to those Australians who lost their job,” he said.
“On the basis of assessed need, there will be continued support moving forward, but JobKeeper in its current form will come to an end at the end of September.”
Not wanting to reveal the type of support businesses can expect, including those forced into another round of lockdowns due to Victoria’s coronavirus resurgence, Mr Cormann said: “Whatever support is provided beyond the end of September is going to be based on assessed need from the end of September onwards.
“It is less than two weeks until the economic statement will be released on 23 July. We will be making relevant announcements in the context of that statement on the future arrangements for JobKeeper and the enhanced JobSeeker arrangements.
“That is something that we have previously made clear. So not much longer to go. But again, JobKeeper in its current form was always designed to be in place for a six-month period. That comes to an end at the end of September. It is an unbelievably generous program.”
Speaking also on Friday morning, the Treasurer reconfirmed that another phase of targeted income support will help businesses avoid the September cliff. But unlike the Finance Minister, he did not rule out that this support would mirror the current JobKeeper subsidy; instead, he conceded that the program’s future will be known on 23 July.
“There will be a second wave of income support that the Commonwealth will announce, as we’ve foreshadowed we’ll be making statements on 23 July,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC Melbourne.
Asked whether the Victorian outbreak has forced the government to rethink JobKeeper, Mr Frydenberg said that while the situation will be factored in, the government will inevitably take a national approach as opposed to state-specific programs.
“This has been one of the strengths because it has allowed us to put in place demand-driven programs that respond to need wherever that arises, but we’re certainly going to be factoring in recent developments in Victoria into our thinking and into our decisions for the 23rd,” the Treasurer said.