About half a million Queenslanders could be get- ting up to $200 a fortnight less within days as government support is wound back.
The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement is set to fall by $100 a fortnight from January 1, while the JobKeeper wage subsidy will drop by up to $200 a fortnight three days later.
Temporary debt relief measures for businesses facing bankruptcy are also set to lapse, but new insolvency laws coming into force in the new year should soften the blow.
As of November there were 322,000 Queenslanders on the JobSeeker dole payments, a drop of 2.8 per cent from the previous month as more people found work. The new rate will be set at $715 a fortnight.
At the same time there were 218,000 workers in the Sun- shine State with their wages propped up by up to $1200 a fortnight, with this payment set to drop to $1000 for the full-time rate.
Both payments will continue at these rates until the end of March, with JobKeeper expected to be discontinued and a decision yet to be reached on the future of JobSeeker.
Opposition acting treasury spokeswoman Katy Gallagher said there were 2.2 million Australians entering the new year looking for work or for more hours.
“Now is not the right time to be cutting crucial support, particularly when the Morrison government has not done enough to tackle the jobs crisis in Australia,” she said.
“Instead of a plan to create jobs, boost wages and tackle underemployment, this government is focused on cutting vital support.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has argued that the nation’s economic recovery is under way, having been supported by JobKeeper, which was intend- ed to be temporary and has al- ready been extended by six months.
“The lower-than-forecast take-up of the JobKeeper payment extension in October is further evidence that Australia’s recovery from this once- in-a-century pandemic is well under way,” he said.
“While there is still a long road ahead, these are promising signs that our economic recovery is well under way.”
Meanwhile, temporary debt protection for debtors will reduce from six months to 21 days from January 1. But reforms to insolvency laws kicking in from the same day mean that small business- es with liabilities of less than $1m will be able to retain control of their company during a debt restructuring process.
Instead of necessarily having to enter a voluntary administration pro- cess, business owners will be able to work with a “small business restructuring practitioner” to develop a restructuring plan within 20 days, with creditors given 15 days to vote on the plan.