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Up to 150,000 'may lose employment' when JobKeeper ends next week: Treasury

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Treasury boss Steven Kennedy expects between 100,000 to 150,000 people receiving the JobKeeper wage subsidy are at risk of losing their jobs when the program finishes at the end of March.

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New figures show there were one million employees and 370,000 businesses that were still reliant on the JobKeeper subsidy at the end of January.

Dr Kennedy told senators in Canberra JobKeeper has played a crucial role in supporting the economy and driving the recovery.

“In our view it is appropriate for the program to end as other support measures take effect and to allow the economy to continue adjusting,” he told a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday.

“We believe that in the order of 100,000 to 150,000 JobKeeper recipients may lose employment at the completion of the program, though there is a wide band of uncertainty around this estimate.”

Since JobKeeper was first introduced in April, more than 2.7 million employees and about 680,000 business have left the scheme, representing a 72 per cent reduction.

Australian Taxation Office data also shows that all industries have seen a significant decrease in the number of employees covered by JobKeeper, including a 83 per cent fall in retail and a 69 per cent drop in accommodation and food services.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the final JobKeeper numbers for January confirm that Australia’s economic recovery is broad based across all states, regions and industries.

“We know that some families and businesses are still doing it tough and our message is that the Morrison government continues to have your back,” Mr Frydenberg said.

He said the government’s economic recovery plan will continue to support the economy through targeted support measures as well as tax cuts, business incentives and a record investment in skills and training and infrastructure.

-AAP

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