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More than half of stood-down employees back in work, Frydenberg says

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
24 August 2020 2 minute readShare
Josh Frydenberg

Of the 1.3 million people who either lost their job or had their hours reduced down to zero from the start of the coronavirus crisis, around 700,000 are now back at work, according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Ahead of Parliament’s resumption on Monday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg assured Australians that there is cause for optimism, noting that the effective unemployment rate has dropped to 9.9 per cent, from 14.9 per cent in April.

Speaking on Nine’s Today show, the Treasurer revealed a strong jobs growth in New South Wales, with 315,000 people getting back to work, as well as strong growth in Tasmania, Western Australia and across other states.

“Now, 58 per cent of those have gone to women and around 44 per cent have gone to young people. So, it shows what the formula can do when you get the virus under control and you ease the restrictions, people get back to work,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“But certainly, the situation in Victoria with stage 4 restrictions is very different. And its Treasury’s analysis that up to 400,000 people in Victoria will either lose their job or see their hours reduce down to zero. That’s why it is vitally important we get the virus under control.”

Earlier this month, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics painted a slightly different picture of the Aussie workforce, revealing that the number of people out of work, available to work and actively looking for work rose past 1 million in July, an increase of 16,000 from a month earlier.

“The July data provides insight into the Australian labour market during stage 3 restrictions in Victoria,” said Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS.

“The August labour force data will provide the first indication of the impact of stage 4 restrictions.”

However, according to the Treasury’s fresh analysis, more than half of the people who were stood down at the start of the coronavirus had started some work by July. 

Asked whether the situation in Victoria could push the government to reconsider the planned reduction in the JobKeeper payment to $1,200 from 28 September, the Treasurer brushed aside any inference that the wage subsidy may need to be rethought.

“Well, we’ve actually extended and expanded JobKeeper to go for an extra six months. It was originally legislated for just six months at that flat $1,500 payment. What we’ve done is extend it for another six months out to the end of March,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“Now, it will transition from $1,500 down to $1,200 and then down to $1,000, and there will be two different payments based on the number of hours worked and that followed a Treasury review.

“And again, it’s Treasury’s analysis that JobKeeper together with the other economic support packages that we have announced have helped save 700,000 jobs across the country.”

Parliament is back on Monday, after two weeks of quarantine for some politicians, and among the important decision to be made, the most anticipated are the proposed extensions to the JobKeeper wage subsidy and the JobSeeker supplement.

More than half of stood-down employees back in work, Frydenberg says
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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