Australia pledges US$80 bln wages subsidy to protect jobs

March 30, 2020 15:52
Australia's Scott Morrison has unveiled a subsidy to encourage firms to preserve jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Reuters

Australia will spend A$130 billion (US$79.85 billion) to subsidize the wages of an estimated six million people, marking a third tranche of stimulus designed to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reports.

The “job keeper” allowance announced on Monday will provide eligible companies with A$1,500 every fortnight for six months for each employee. Any company that lost 30 percent of its revenue can apply for the funds.

Thousands of Australians who have already lost their jobs will be eligible for the payments through their former employer, according to the report.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the six months of funding was necessary to ensure businesses are able to retain staff and are able to bounce back when the crisis passes.

“We must have a running economy to get through this,” Morrison said in a televised news conference. “This is an incentive to keep people on, doing actual work ... they can keep them on the books, on the payrolls.”

The “job keeper” allowance brings Australia's coronavirus-related stimulus so far to A$320 billion, or about 15 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

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