A Treasury review has revealed that up to $27 BN of the $89 BN JobKeeper program went to businesses that did not suffer as much as they feared from pandemic lockdowns.
The federal Treasury review of JobKeeper found that the nation’s largest-ever one-off economic support program had been instrumental in saving millions of jobs by driving billions of dollars directly into the bottom lines of millions of small businesses.
To apply for JobKeeper, a business had to have an expected 30-50 percent fall in turnover in either a month or a quarter compared to the same period in 2019. However, the Treasury review found that a very large amount of money went to companies that reported an increase in revenues through the pandemic.
The analysis highlighted that through the June and September quarters of last year,
$27 BN went to businesses that did not suffer their forecast drop in turnover compared to a year earlier. $13.2 BN went to businesses whose fall in turnover was less than expected while another $13.8 BN went to businesses that enjoyed higher turnovers.
Of that $13.8 BN, at least $4.9 BN went to new businesses or those that had changed their structure since the year before, which could explain the increased turnover.
As reported in The Age, Labor’s assistant treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh said JobKeeper had wasted billions of dollars that could have gone into other programs.
“JobKeeper was a good idea that was badly implemented by the Morrison government. They allowed billions of dollars to go to companies that didn’t need support, yet neglected millions who needed help,” he said.
The analysis was based on about two-thirds of the businesses that received $47.6 BN of the $70.3 BN paid during the first phase of JobKeeper. Not-for-profits, businesses too small to submit a quarterly Business Activity Statement, and some businesses that reported as part of a consolidated group were not included.