18 March 2021

Belconnen and Gungahlin to be most affected by JobKeeper ending

| Dominic Giannini
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According to Labor, Belconnen and Gungahlin will be hit hard by the end of JobKeeper. Photo: File.

Belconnen and Gungahlin will be the hardest hit regions in the ACT when the JobKeeper wage subsidy comes to an end, according to data released by Labor, which also found more than 3100 businesses and almost 9700 employees across the ACT will be affected.

Territory-wide, Labor estimates this will take $4.6 million out of the local economy every week.

Around 560 businesses and more than 1700 workers in Belconnen and just under 500 businesses and 1500 workers in Gungahlin will be affected.

The Federal Government was peppered with questions in Parliament on Wednesday (17 March) over its decision to end the supplement entirely while the pandemic is continuing. The Opposition has called for an extension to the measure, but Treasurer Josh Frydenburg said that JobKeeper was always intended to be a temporary measure.

The program has put almost $1 billion into the ACT economy, he said.

Just over the border in Eden-Monaro, more than 5300 workers will lose around $2.6 million every week, local member Kristy McBain said.

“Entire sectors, including tourism and hospitality, will be denied the government support that has kept them afloat and given them hope,” she said.

“The day-to-day weight that comes with this kick to the guts is real – especially for the already traumatised communities of Eden-Monaro.”

Ms McBain said that businesses in the Bega Valley lost their income over the last two summers and that half lacked confidence they would remain viable over the next 12 months.

The coronavirus supplement, which is currently $150 a fortnight, and the extended eligibility for JobSeeker, will also end on 31 March, in a move that the social services sector has criticised.

More than 12,000 Canberrans are still on the JobSeeker payment, according to figures from the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS), almost double the pre-COVID level.

The government raised the payment base rate by about $4 a day, meaning a single person on the payment will receive just over $310 a week.

ACTCOSS has called for the increase to go further, saying the rate would need to be increased to $65 a day to bring it above the poverty line.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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