Latest News

National News

JobKeeper error drives down cost, reach

WHY THE JOBKEEPER NUMBERS WERE REVISED DOWN

* The Australian Taxation Office and Treasury advised the government on Thursday of a "reporting error" in JobKeeper, the wage subsidy program to help people affected by the COVID-19 downturn.

* Enrolment forms completed by 910,055 businesses who self-assessed as eligible indicated the program would cover around 6.5 million workers.

* An ATO review found 1000 businesses made "significant errors" when reporting the estimate of eligible workers on their forms.

* The most common error was instead of reporting the number of employees, they reported the amount of money they expected to receive. For example, over 500 businesses with '1' eligible employee reported a figure of '1500' (the amount of JobKeeper payment they would expect to receive for each fortnight for that employee).

* The problem came to light during an examination of how much money has already been paid out.

* Of the 910,055 businesses who enrolled in the JobKeeper program 759,654 made claims and had their applications processed. This resulted in $8.7 billion of approved payments covering 2.9 million employees so far.

* Treasury now expects the number of employees likely to be covered under the JobKeeper program to be around 3.5 million instead of 6.5 million.

* Treasury's revised estimate of the cost of the JobKeeper program is around $70 billion, down from the initial $130 billion estimate.

* Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says it is "not an invitation to spend more" on those who are ineligible for JobKeeper.

© AAP 2020