Treasurer’s forthright message to bosses
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has issued a blunt warning to Australian bosses claiming the Government's JobKeeper payment for their staff.
Addressing reporters in Canberra alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Mr Frydenberg said it was essential that employers pay their staff before receiving the payment despite issues many are facing in coming up with the funds to do so.
The Treasurer said he had discussed the important issue in a phone hook-up this morning with the four big bank chief executives and tax commissioner Chris Jordan.
Businesses are required to pay their employees' wages before they actually receive the money from the JobKeeper payment, which means many of them need access to finance from the banks in the meantime. For some of them, it's taking too long to get that finance.
"We're very conscious, very conscious of the fact that the banks are playing a vitally important role in bridging the finance that these businesses need to pay their staff ahead of receiving the first payment in the first week of May," Mr Frydenberg said.
"It was a very productive discussion. And we emphasised the need for the banks to provide support to those businesses.
"They have agreed to set up, each of these four major banks, a dedicated hotline for their customers to call to receive the bridging finance necessary to pay their staff, ahead of receiving that money under the JobKeeper program.
"Importantly, they have also agreed to expedite the processing of all those applications to the front of the queue.
"So our message today is, if you are a business or a not-for-profit that is eligible for the JobKeeper payment, as required, you need to pay your staff ahead of receiving the money from the Tax Office.
"Go to your bank. Ring their hotline. Ask for that support. And that support with be forthcoming."
More than 900,000 businesses have registered their interest in accessing the JobKeeper payment, and 275,000 of them have already filled in formal applications.
In the same press conference, Mr Frydenberg gave an uptake of the Government's other economic relief measures.
"Two weeks ago, the largest economic lifeline that this country has ever seen passed the Parliament," he said.
"We're now firmly in the implementation phase, and providing that support to millions of Australians."
The Australian Taxation Office has approved 456,000 applications for early access to superannuation, totalling $3.8 billion. The average withdrawal is "around $8000".
"Those applications are now with the superannuation funds for their payment over the next five days," Mr Frydenberg said.
The ATO has dished out $3 billion to 177,000 businesses, which employ 2.1 million Australians, through its measures to boost cash flow.
Mr Frydenberg said the ATO had done "an outstanding job" paying out that support "ahead of what they thought would be the start date on April 28".
The $750 cash payments to pensioners, carers, people on the disability support pension and family tax benefits have gone out to 6.8 million people, totalling $5.1 billion.
Originally published as Treasurer's forthright message to bosses