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Federal Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter on jobkeeper wages and casual workers

Federal Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter

JobKeeper still a no-go for casuals, now easier for charities though

Charities will now find it much easier to access the JobKeeper wage subsidy program in comparison to casual workers. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says not-for-profit charities can now apply for the JobKeeper benefit if they’ve suffered a 15 per cent hit to revenue because of the pandemic.

But many charities are expected to still miss out because funding is often tied and can’t be shifted around for other purposes.

Federal Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter is under pressure from unions and Labor to extend the $130 billion program to more casual workers.

But he is digging in to ensure the wage is only available to workers with a 12-month link to a single employer.

“The fundamental principle is not going to change,” Mr Porter told ABC radio on Monday.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has suggested casuals should get the payments if they had a reasonable expectation of ongoing work, were it not for the virus.

“I just don’t see that as a workable definition,” Mr Porter said.

The scheme, where workers get a fortnightly pay of $1500 per person through their employers, is set to be approved by parliament on Wednesday.

To be eligible, a for-profit company’s turnover must have fallen by at least 30 per cent.

Businesses with annual turnovers of more than $1 billion must have suffered a 50 per cent or more drop in revenue.

Nationals backbencher Barnaby Joyce has warned the government against throwing open the cheque book too wide.

“After this is over, with a half-trillion dollars worth of debt, there is debt on top, it has to be paid back and financed,” he told Seven’s Sunrise program.

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Loren Webb

Loren Webb

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