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Treasurer defends JobKeeper inconsistencies amid costing bungle

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg admits a mistake was made following the revelation the government overstated the cost of the JobKeeper scheme by $60 billion. 

Mr Frydenberg explained to Ray Hadley the mistake happened for two reasons, with the first being Treasury’s initial estimate was formed during the height of the pandemic

“They thought that the economy would enter into a very, very deep hole and we could even enter the lockdown situation that we saw in Europe.”

The Treasurer added the second thing to happen was a small number of businesses filled in the form incorrectly and instead of writing the number of employees they wrote the amount of JobKeeper money they’d be receiving.

Despite the costing oversight, Mr Frydenberg is still defending the efficiency of the scheme for employees amid businesses failing to provide employee job security.

Ray put it to the Treasurer that the understanding around JobKeeper is a company claiming the funding package makes a commitment to the government they will keep their staff employed, even if there’s no work.

“That’s what you told me, that’s what you told the people who were asking me questions about JobKeeper.

“Are you now saying that if a company wants to make someone on JobKeeper redundant they can do that?”

Mr Frydenberg explained whilst the government is encouraging businesses to keep their staff on if they’re eligible under JobKeeper, when it comes to redundancies businesses still need to adhere to conditions under the FairWork Act.

“We’ve never said that they can’t make them [redundant], but they have to meet those obligations to make them redundant.”

In response, Ray has called on all businesses large and small to keep their employees on JobKeeper until September “so the poor buggers can keep treading water… that was the whole intention of JobKeeper”!

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Image: Getty

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