Heavyweights of the local business scene have weighed in on the latest developments with the JobKeeper and JobSeeker schemes and their effectiveness in relation to Mid North Coast retailers and companies.
Business Taree president, John Stevens, and Business NSW regional manager, Kellon Beard, say the retention of both schemes, at least for the short term, is a collective sigh of relief for local employers and their employees.
With some speculation the scheme would be dumped entirely, the Australian Government instead announced the wage subsidy would be cut from $1500 to $1200 a fortnight for full-time workers and $750 for part-time workers.
We can't afford to lose our next generation of skilled workers because of insufficient work opportunities.Kellon Beard, Business NSW regional manager
This will come into effect on September 28 while further cuts will be made in January 2021.
Mr Stevens said the news ensured businesses wouldn't be left stranded in regards to financial viability.
"I don't think many of us are too concerned about it being suddenly pulled out from under the nose of businesses that have been receiving it and (it gives businesses) some certainty about how it will look into the future," Mr Stevens said.
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Last week, Business NSW released a COVID-19 recovery report, entitled Back on Track, to highlight the need to scale back the JobKeeper scheme rather than end it abruptly.
Many businesses are unprepared and would be vulnerable if JobKeeper ended too quickly, Mr Beard said.
"Our survey showed two in five businesses receiving JobKeeper do not have a plan to manage when payments stop, and one in two recipients will need to reduce staff hours or headcount when payments stop," Mr Beard said.
Mounting fears of a second spread of coronavirus across NSW will certainly put pressure on businesses so the continued support is vital.
"The outbreak in Victoria and emerging risks in NSW will add further pressure, heightening the need to continue to support businesses and their employees," Mr Beard said.
It is doubtful sectors - namely tourism, construction, transport, hospitality and education - will return to normal in the coming months.
Revenue has clearly dropped, mainly due to government restrictions and lack of customer demand.
This further demonstrates the importance of the wage subsidy. However, it can't be the 'be all end all' in the long term.
As much as none of us want the scheme to continue, it certainly provides us with some confidence about being able to make informed decisions that don't put anyone's livelihoods at risk and safeguard jobs and help keep our communities ticking over at this time.John Stevens, Business Taree president
"As much as none of us want the scheme to continue, it certainly provides us with some confidence about being able to make informed decisions that don't put anyone's livelihoods at risk and safeguard jobs and help keep our communities ticking over at this time," Mr Stevens said.
"It's all looking to be pretty positive at this point in time."
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Business NSW has called on the Federal Government to implement policies that will get people back into work. It wants the National Cabinet to work towards an unemployment rate below six per cent by 2022, a goal made possible by JobKeeper.
Another measure is a 'youth jobs guarantee' where unemployed young people have access to job opportunities during harsh economic times.
"We can't afford to lose our next generation of skilled workers because of insufficient work opportunities," Mr Beard said.
Mr Stevens would like to see more development in the form of region-focused economic policy.
"That will enable us to get a bit of a leg up and a step forward," he said.
JobSeeker will be adjusted to again wind back dependency on the scheme. The incentive for those who rely heavily on the payment, formerly the Newstart allowance, is to find some measure of employment.
The long term status of both payments is yet to be finalised, however the JobKeeper payment is locked in until at least March 2021.
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