BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SCIENCE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS
MEMBER FOR GORTON
STEPHEN JONES MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR WHITLAM
SMALL BUSINESSES NEED SUPPORT
Concerning reports have emerged that thousands of small businesses who applied for JobKeeper, were approved by the ATO, and subsequently paid their employees at the JobKeeper rate may be forced to repay the wage subsidies, highlighting ongoing issues with the design and bungled roll-out of the scheme.
The Morrison Government should be doing everything it possibly can to support small businesses and ensure as many Australians remain connected to the labour market as possible, rather than confusing small businesses with inconsistent advice on JobKeeper eligibility.
In April we wrote to Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar suggesting the government introduce a voucher scheme for accredited accountants and professional service providers to assist small businesses with the JobKeeper payment scheme and cash-flow boost measure.
The scheme would help businesses access professional and accurate information on how to access support, including advice on interactions with the ATO.
We are still yet to hear back from Mr Sukkar. Perhaps if the Government listened to our suggestion, those businesses who now find themselves in trouble with the ATO may have had access to the right advice.
Businesses are already closing, workers are already being laid off and many vulnerable Australians are at serious risk. Accountant vouchers would help small businesses with serious cash-flow issues access professional advice.
Vulnerable workers, businesses and communities need and deserve a comprehensive plan to get them through the recovery and alleviate some of the understandable anxiety in the community.
Australians have worked together to combat the virus, but more work must be done by the Morrison Government to ensure the hardest-hit Australians are not left out and left behind in the first recession in three decades.