Politics

The Government Slashed JobKeeper, Then Businesses Immediately Slashed 110,000 Jobs

Meanwhile, our Treasurer is professing anguish over Melbourne's mental health crisis.

federal budget

Last week Josh Frydenberg insisted that Melbourne’s lockdowns alone were causing a mental health crisis — but the fact that 110,000 jobs have disappeared in two weeks after he slashed the JobKeeper payments might have something to do with it, too.

As reported by The New Daily, ABS has revealed that job rates fell by 0.9 per cent in the fortnight after JobKeeper and JobSeeker rates were substantially slashed: that’s 113,147 jobs gone in two weeks.

Where JobSeeker’s reduced rate has left the average person with a $58 per day budget, JobKeeper — a payment made to employers, to keep employees on their books — saw its fortnightly payments cut $750 per worker for part-time employees, and $300 per worker for full-time employees.

The ABS statistics show that this loss has almost immediately been passed onto employees, as businesses shed employees they feel they can no longer pay. The slashes to JobSeeker and JobKeeper were part of the Morrison government’s latest budget — one that Frydenberg, in his own words, said was “all about jobs and supporting small business“.

According to The New Daily, this marks a loss of 440,000 jobs in Australia since March, the beginning of COVID-19’s mass impact on the country.

The news comes a week after TreasurerJosh Frydenberg campaigned for Victoria’s lockdowns to be eased, citing a ‘mental health’ cost. Given that he ignored advocates’ pleas for the JobSeeker and JobKeeper rates to stay untouched, it’s clear he has cherry-picked what does and doesn’t affect Australian’s mental health — or, more accurately, whose mental health he was concerned with.

In response to Frydenberg’s negging, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews told press this weekend that the Treasurer was more concerned with politics than people.

“It’s all about the politics with this bloke, isn’t it? He’s not a leader, he’s just a Liberal,” he said. “All he does is play politics every day. I just don’t think it’s fair, I don’t think it’s right and I think Victorians are sick of it.”

On the plus side, Australians can now access 20 Medicare-subsidised sessions with a mental health professional a year, as per the 20/21 Budget — an extension to the previously rebated 10 a year.