Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Joe Aston on: Liberty Day @ JobKeeper wasted $40 billion, not $27 billion, but who’s counting?

Officials chose not to alter jobkeeper rules out of fear the change may have ‘muted’ Australia’s recovery

 Nassim Khadem Treasury confirms it knew government was paying out billions in JobKeeper to firms that 'may not need support'

Joe Aston

JobKeeper wasted $40 billion, not $27 billion, but who’s counting?

Joe AstonColumnist

The Commonwealth Treasury’s Insights into the first six months of JobKeeper was dumped on Monday, of course, being “Freedom Day” in the major media market of New South Wales. That’s public relations sorcery, right there. Fully three years into its bondage to Josh Frydenberg, the once-great department is now as alive to the forces of PR as it is to those of economics.

Team Frydenberg was correct to assume the nation’s economics journalists would either be in Sydney getting a haircut or in Canberra driven to distraction by the Instagram posts of their friends in Sydney getting a haircut.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has defended the JobKeeper scheme, saying it supported the economic recovery. Alex Ellinghausen

All of the major newspapers dutifully reported that between April and September 2020, $27 billion in JobKeeper was paid to recipients who didn’t experience a 30 per cent turnover decline.

If only $27 billion was all it was!

On page 40 of the report, Treasury explains that its analysis is based upon a $47.6 billion sample of the $70.3 billion paid in the first phase of JobKeeper. For reasons that are arguably flimsy and inarguably self-serving, Treasury’s analysis excluded all of the JobKeeper paid to not-for-profits like rich private schools and stadium churches and to subsidiaries of consolidated groups like Specsavers and Harvey Norman.