Amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and economic woes, JobKeeper payments are to be extended but at a reduced rate, and the Federal Government is to invest more than half a billion dollars to extend Australia’s aged care support.
Legislation to extend both the JobKeeper wage subsidy and JobSeeker payments were due to be passed in the Senate this week before the current arrangements expire at the end of September.
Starting from September 28, recipients will get $1200 a fortnight, $300 less than the current JobKeeper payment.
From January 4, that payment will be cut again, to $1000 a fortnight.
The coronavirus supplement given to JobSeeker recipients from the start of the pandemic will be cut by $300 from the end of September.
JobSeeker recipients will receive $800 a fortnight until the end of the year.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said extending JobKeeper alone would add $30 billion to the budget.
The Federal Government is also investing an extra $563.4 million to extend and expand support programs for aged care providers.
Aged care residents have been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the extra funding would go towards a single site worker program – aimed at containing the spread of the pandemic – and providing support for aged care residents where they and their family wish to care for them on a temporary basis at home.
Mr Hunt said the funding could be broken down into four key areas.
The first was the continuation of the COVID supplement to provide for an additional six months to the end of February 2021, he said.
“This is support for facilities and it comes as a cost of $245 million. It assists them as we announced in May on May 1, with the ability to develop their workforce, to provide for PPE needs and for other elements relating to the fight against COVID-19,” Mr Hunt said.
The second was to extend the support for aged care workers in COVID-19 areas to operate on a single workforce basis.
Thirdly, $71.4 million would go towards expanding the short-term home support for older Australians who are on leave from residential aged care, to help families to care for older residents who will take time away from an aged care facility.
The program will be extended until June 2021 at a cost of $71.4 million.
Fourthly, the extension of the COVID-19 aged care workforce retention payment totalling $154.5 million.