JobKeeper withdrawn too soon: Labor

At least 56,000 people have been left out of work since the JobKeeper wage subsidy ended in March.

Labor says jobs losses confirm the Morrison government was too quick to withdraw support.

“For too many Australians the end of JobKeeper meant the end of their jobs,” Labor deputy leader Richard Marles said on Tuesday.

“Under Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg the pandemic support ends before the pandemic ends.”

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy initially predicted between 100,000 to 150,000 people could lose their job as a result of the JobKeeper program ending.

He has since arrived at a more modest figure.

“Early indicators suggest that while there have been some job losses associated with the end of the program, and there may be more in the future, the strength of the broader labour market has meant that many of these individuals are finding jobs,” Dr Kennedy told a Senate hearing in Canberra.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates some 56,000 people have lost their jobs in the four weeks since JobKeeper finished.

“We would expect many of those that have lost employment at the end of JobKeeper to regain employment in coming weeks,” Dr Kennedy said.

However, Labor says there are more than 500,000 casual workers in Victoria who are at risk of no income during a statewide lockdown.

“Victorians are only in this position because Scott Morrison has failed on fit for purpose quarantine and the vaccine rollout,” Mr Marles said.

The Commonwealth has so far declined to provide additional support to Victoria during the lockdown.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told coalition colleagues Victoria had already been given the lion’s share of federal funding and did not need further support.

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