It was high-fives all round when the government announced it was extending JobKeeper to March 2021. And now, in light of the Victorian lockdowns, and growing NSW hotspots, closed borders and slow business, the Federal Government has now revealed it will relax the eligibility criteria that it had previously stated businesses – including salons – would have to meet to receive the second phase of the payment scheme.

Businesses will now only need to show their GST turnover has fallen in one quarter, instead of two, to qualify for the extension of the scheme, which is due to come into effect at the end of September. 

When the government first announced the extension of the JobKeeper program last month, it said businesses would need to show a decline in turnover for both the June and September quarters in order to be eligible for the extension of the program. 

However, under the announced changes, the new JobKeeper eligibility criteria mean businesses will now only need to show that GST turnover has fallen in the September quarter, compared to the corresponding period in 2019. 

These changes will also apply to the second extension of JobKeeper, which will begin at the start of January 2021.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the changes will mean the government will spend an additional $15.6 billion on the JobKeeper program, and $13 billion of that is expected to go towards supporting Victorian businesses and employees. 

“We’re deeply concerned about the economic blow to the national economy and, particularly, the Victorian economy from the coronavirus spread,” he said. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the changes apply to all Australian businesses, whenever they are located, but the JobKeeper scheme is “there when the virus hits and it’s hit hard in Victoria in particular”. 

“There’ll be some additional people who get access to it, we expect in other states and territories, but it’s principally Victoria,” he said. 

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