Changes to the JobKeeper supplement, which will take place in January, may not have a great impact, says an independent economist despite major concerns from the business community.
As of January 4, businesses will be required to prove they have suffered at 30 per cent decline in turnover across the December quarter and will be required to pay employees the full JobKeeper amount of $1000 for tier 1 or $650 for tier 2.
Eligible businesses will receive the payment until March 28 when the scheme is fully phased out. The January 4 to March 28 period is the second time the government has extended the scheme.
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In September the initial payment of $1500 per fortnight was reduced but eligibility criteria was extended to allow businesses to claim the supplement for some part-time workers.
Independent economist Saul Eslake said when the scheme was updated in September there was minimal impact to business across Australia.
He said he expected to see a similar outcome when the eligibility criteria changed again in January.
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"You might think given the importance that JobKeeper has played in supporting jobs in Tasmania, as it has done in other parts of Australia, and particularly jobs for women and younger people that the step down in the level of JobKeeper could cause some jobs losses," Mr Eslake said.
"But if we look at what happened at the end of September there was almost no impact at all. In fact it is really quite remarkable how little impact the first step down in the level of JobKeeper payments at the beginning of October actually had either nationally or in Tasmania.
"Unless there is another serious virus outbreak between now and the beginning of January, I would expect this will actually go more smoothly than many people would have feared."
Despite Mr Eslake's optimistic outlook, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Michael Bailey remains concerned for Tasmanian businesses. He said government support was needed to ensure viable businesses could survive 2021.
"We have been advocating very hard for this at a national level as well as locally - that we are going to need to keep JobKeeper in place or some form of it to ensure businesses can get through what is going to be a very difficult next 12 months," Mr Bailey said.
"We know that businesses, particularly tourism hospitality and events but others too, are going to have a summer that will be like a normal winter in Tasmania as far as trading goes. Then they will come out of that straight back into winter again so there is going to need to be some sort of support ongoing.
"Then a weening off so businesses can wind back into activity again but, realistically Australia is at least two or three years away from being back to any sort of normal. Government understands that so we are going to need to see how that plays out as far as support goes."
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