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Most business concerns aren’t about JobKeeper at all, says ombudsman

Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores
22 September 2020 1 minute readShare
Kate Carnell

EXCLUSIVE: One issue is much more in the front of mind of small businesses than the scheduled reduction of JobKeeper payments due to happen in less than a week, according to Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell.

Speaking exclusively on the MyBusiness webcast earlier this week, sponsored by MYOB, Ms Carnell said a lot of the issues that businesses are bringing up with them at the moment aren’t about JobKeeper at all.

She said the issue businesses are raising with her are more around the uncertainty around commercial tenancy, and that they’re simply not going to able to continue operating in their current premises.

“They can’t see how theyre going to be viable going forward, but they can’t afford the cost of getting out-of-lease termination because the costs involved with that are really high,” Ms Carnell said.

“Similarly, with leases on business equipment, thats very definitely the case in terms of restaurants, but also business equipment in offices and so on.”

Ms Carnell said governments, in particular the Victorian government, are going to have to look really seriously at helping businesses with lease termination penalties.

“Business would always like payments to go on for longer, theres no doubt about that. They’re pleased that theres a plan through… next March, but theres a range of other issues that are causing even more pain than the reduction,” she said.

Potential part-JobSeeker payment for some on JobKeeper

Ms Carnell noted that some people on JobKeeper may be entitled for a part-payment on JobSeeker as well, dependent on asset tests and other issues.

“Its important if you are in need to have a look at that because it is possible, particularly those people that come down from $1,500 down to $750,” she said.

“But even those that are on the $1,200, there are some people who will be able to dig around about $276 maybe a fortnight from JobSeeker.”

Individuals receiving JobKeeper at the part-time rate of $750 per fortnight might also be able to receive another $546 in unemployment benefits, raising their incomes to $1,295.

Earlier this week, Federal Social Services Minister Anne Ruston encouraged anyone concerned about having their income reduced under JobKeeper to investigate JobSeeker unemployment benefits.

“We have temporarily put arrangements in place so that our social security safety net is not just for people who have lost their jobs,” Ms Ruston said.

“It is able to provide a cushion for people who have had or fear their hours or income will be reduced.”

You can watch the MyBusiness webcast on JobKeeper 2.1 by clicking here.

Most business concerns aren’t about JobKeeper at all, says ombudsman
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Adrian Flores
Adrian Flores

Adrian Flores is the deputy editor of MyBusiness. Before that, he was the deputy editor for SMSF Adviser as well as features editor for ifa (Independent Financial Adviser), InvestorDaily, Risk Adviser, Fintech Business and Adviser Innovation.

You can email Adrian at [email protected].

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