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JobKeeper went to companies where turnover did not fall below thresholds, data finds

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JobKeeper payments worth $38 billion went to employers that did not suffer sustained downturns below threshold levels, new data reveals.

Key points:
The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) found at least $38 billion in JobKeeper went to companies where turnover did not fall below the thresholds
The PBO found $1.3 billion went to companies where turnover tripled during the quarter for which they claimed JobKeeper
It found a further $1.3 billion was paid to companies that doubled their quarterly turnover

The wage subsidy program was the largest economic support in Australia’s history, costing $89b when it ended earlier this year.

However, questions persist about the billions of dollars handed to companies that increased turnover or where turnover did not fall by 30 per cent.

Fresh analysis by the federal Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) found at least $38b went to companies where turnover did not fall below thresholds during the quarter for which they claimed support.

“Of course, JobKeeper was a good idea,” federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh said.

“But the way in which it was administered has led to some of the biggest waste in the nation’s history.”

Andrew Fenner wearing a suit and red tie with his arms crossed
Labor MP Andrew Leigh is critical of the way the JobKeeper scheme was run.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)
When announcing the wage subsidy program, the federal government said most companies would need to show a 30 per cent fall in turnover.

However, the rules were soon relaxed to allow employers to qualify based on an estimated reduction in turnover.

Once employers qualified — based on an actual downturn or a projection — they remained in the scheme for up to six months until late September, receiving $1,500 per eligible employee each fortnight.

However, many firms did not suffer as much as feared, and $38b of the $72b examined by the independent PBO went to companies where quarterly turnover did not fall below the thresholds.

That represents 53 per cent of the taxpayer cash spend that was examined.

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