(Bloomberg) – Australia has disbursed A $ 27 billion ($ 20 billion) under the Government’s signed JobKeeper wage subsidy to companies whose revenues have not fallen enough to qualify for the program or have in fact increased over the period, according to a Treasury analysis.

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At the height of the pandemic lockdown, around A $ 11.4 billion was paid in the second quarter of 2020 and A $ 15.6 billion in the third quarter to companies that did not record a 30% drop – or 50% – of sales from a year earlier, the Treasury said on Monday in a report.

Of this amount, A $ 4.6 billion went to companies that recorded an increase in revenue during the year up to the June quarter and A $ 9.2 billion went to companies with an increase over the course of the year. of the year through the September quarter, Treasury said in the report titled “JobKeeper’s First Six Month Insight.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has been criticized for failing to apply more rigorous testing to JobKeeper and for deciding not to try to recoup some of the money paid to companies. The A $ 90 billion initiative, the centerpiece of the government’s response to the coronavirus, has helped limit rising unemployment and the shrinking economy at the height of last year’s pandemic.

The result is an embarrassment for a Conservative government that prides itself on fiscal discipline and criticized the then Labor government’s overspending during the 2008-09 financial crisis.

The Treasury noted today that the “vast majority” of payments to companies that increased their revenues during the period went to small businesses – around A $ 12.1 billion, or 88% of the total.

He said many of these companies had been allowed to use an alternative test to determine their eligibility because sales compared to a year earlier were not a good indication of the impact of Covid on their operations.

JobKeeper ended at the end of March this year.

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