As we revealed previously, the second phase of JobKeeper will require businesses to meet eligibility criteria, and it’s this area that the Government is looking to reassess for Victoria.

“We’re looking at the eligibility question … We don’t want businesses that have been really badly hit through the September period, but may not have met the 30% threshold in the June period, [to miss out]. We want to make sure we can get support to them as well,” TReasuruer Josh Frydenberg said.

The first phase of the JobKeeper program expires on September 27, several weeks after Melbourne’s six-week stage four lockdown is due to end.

Essentially, the federal government is keen to avoid a situation where businesses in Victoria are ineligible for the JobKeeper programme because their turnover picked up in the period between coronavirus lockdowns.

But businesses are concerned the runway between them being able to open up again and losing access to the crucial payments is too small, and could cripple their ability to get trading back under their belts in October.

Asked this week whether the federal government would delay paring back the $1500 payment at the end of September, as is currently planned, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “We’re talking about something two-and-a-half months from now. We’re into August, it’s the end of September. So we’re talking about something many weeks from now, and we’ll be making further assessments of that.”

Economists predict that 250,000 workers will be stood down as retailers shut down and other businesses move into reduced operations.

“What’s important is that those businesses and employees who have been impacted particularly by these decisions will continue to get the support of JobKeeper, and I believe they will,” Mr Morrison said.

“They’ll qualify for JobKeeper now. And so I’d encourage them to make those applications if they’re not already on JobKeeper.”

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