Australia extended on Tuesday financial support for households and businesses it introduced in April to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the scheme, known as JobKeeper Payment, due to finish on Sept. 27 will now remain available for eligible employers until March 28, 2021.
It is a temporary subsidy for businesses affected by virus fallout on the economy. Eligible employers, sole traders and other entities receive AU$1,500 ($1,049) per eligible employee per fortnight.
From Sept. 28, the payment will fall to AU$1,200 ($844) and AU$1,000 ($700) for full-time workers a fortnight, while AU$750 ($528) and AU$650 ($458) for part time and casual employees working less than 20 hours in a period of two weeks.
Meanwhile, the temporary Coronavirus Supplement, a fortnightly payment of AU$550 ($385) for those on income support will be extended until Dec. 31. The adjusted rate is AU$250 ($175) from Sept. 25.
“We’re delivering the initiatives and reforms that will help grow our economy and create the jobs we need for the years ahead,” the premier said.
Meanwhile, the country’s unemployment rate, according to ABC News, has passed a two-decade high, reaching 7.4% in June.
The announcement came as the country registered 387 new infections, 374 in Victoria, and three virus-linked deaths.
In total, Australia has reported 12,428 virus cases, including 126 deaths thus far.
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