Aus­tralia ex­tends its fur­lough scheme un­til next March

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Chris Johnston

AUS­TRALIA will ex­tend its fur­lough sub­sidy scheme un­til March next year, in sharp con­trast to the Chan­cel­lor’s de­ci­sion to stop help­ing UK em­ploy­ers pay wages at the end of Oc­to­ber.

The JobKeeper pro­gramme has paid A$1,500 (£825) a fort­night – less gen­er­ous than Bri­tain worth up to £2,500 a month – but will fall to A$1,200 a month from the end of Septem­ber.

The JobSeeker scheme that tops up un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits will fall from A$550 to A$250 a fort­night, leav­ing re­cip­i­ents on A$815 a fort­night af­ter Septem­ber. Aus­tralia now has dou­ble-digit un­em­ploy­ment and is set for its first re­ces­sion in al­most three decades.

Ex­tend­ing the two in­come sup­port schemes, which have helped save the jobs of about 3.5m work­ers, will cost the gov­ern­ment about A$86bn. The huge sum is on top of the A$30bn given to al­most 1m com­pa­nies.

The reim­po­si­tion of lock­down in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia’s sec­ond-largest city, was the trig­ger to ex­tend the schemes as it meant un­em­ploy­ment was un­likely to fall be­fore Septem­ber.

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