Melbourne lock-down means changes to JobKeeper even more restrictive; extra 260,000 may lose needed support

The lock-down now in place in Melbourne could see an additional 260,000 workers miss out on JobKeeper (JK) support due to the 2-quarters requirements of the new regime.

On our pre-lock-down estimates we would have seen the JK 1.0 original 3.5 million figure drop to 2.0 million in Oct had the initial one-month drop in turnover eligibility stayed in force. The fact that JK 2.0 will require firms to demonstrate a reduction in turnover in both the June and Sept quarters  we estimated that number would have dropped to 1.5 million.

However, with the expected decline in activity now forecast in Victoria through August and into Sept, we now estimate that the original eligibility would have seen more than 2.6 million workers still covered by Oct; that figure drops to less than 1.9 million under the new JK 2.0 eligibility regime. Whereas, pre-lock-down we were estimating the changed eligibility to mean a 500,000 decline in the number covered that figure now jumps to 760,000.

Businesses who had started to see a recovery in the latter part of the June quarter, but will now be faced by a huge decline again in the Sept quarter, may be excluded from the scheme. So although the total number covered under JK 2.0 is likely to increase, on our figures we will likely see more workers who, without the eligibility change would have now been covered, now being unable to qualify. 

Are we likely to see a rethink from the Govt on the details of JK 2.0, at least insofar as it relates to businesses in Melbourne? A change that was designed to reflect the improving picture on activity now looks sadly under-baked in the face of the renewed Victoria lock-downs.

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