JobKeeper expansion is a “necessary lifeline” for small Victorian businesses – ASBFEO

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell has welcomed changes to the JobKeeper eligibility criteria that will support more Victorian small businesses impacted by tighter restrictions.

Under the new eligibility test, small businesses are only required to demonstrate a significant reduction in turnover in the September quarter, compared to the same quarter last year.

“The adjustments to the eligibility criteria will be a necessary lifeline, particularly to those small businesses in Victoria that were able to re-open when restrictions eased after the first wave, but are now impacted by tighter restrictions in response to the second wave,” Ms Carnell says.

“The changes also allow struggling small businesses to get JobKeeper payments for new staff who have been employed since 1 July.”

While the changes to JobKeeper apply nation-wide, Victorian small businesses are expected to take up 80% of the additional $15 billion allocated to the program.

“There’s no doubt the latest round of restrictions has been devastating for Victorian small businesses and the broader economy,” Ms Carnell says.

“The federal government’s commitment ‘to keep Australians in jobs and businesses in business’ will give small businesses a much-needed confidence boost at this very difficult time.

“Small businesses will be reassured by the government’s pledge to continue to back them so they can get to the other side of this crisis.

“In light of the restrictions imposed on small businesses in Melbourne and surrounds, the government should delay its plans to taper JobKeeper payments from the end of next month.

“The reality is that these small businesses won’t be back on their feet by 28 September, when payments will be reduced and commercial rent deferrals are scheduled to expire.”

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