Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says a “very sad state of affairs” is emerging in Victoria where large numbers of employees could be forced onto welfare because they work for big companies ineligible for JobKeeper.
From midnight on Wednesday, a quarter of the national economy will shut down as Melbourne enters a six-week, stage four lockdown where one million workers will be placed under stay-at-home orders.
Under these conditions, most retail, manufacturing and administrative businesses will be forced to close and limits will be placed on the number of workers in abattoirs, warehouses and building sites.
Mr Willox spoke positively of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s openness to easing eligibility requirements and allowing newly affected firms to receive a wage subsidy beyond September.
At present businesses including Wesfarmers which employs 25,000 workers across Bunnings, Officeworks, K-Mart and Target in Victoria cannot claim JobKeeper because it does not meet the scheme’s revenue loss criteria.
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