Australia announces 6-month wage subsidy package of $80 bn

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Canberra: The Federal government on Monday announced a six-month wage subsidy package worth $80 billion to support the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, taking the total value of economic stimulus measures beyond A$200 billion ($123 billion).

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveiled the wage subsidy package here, describing it as “unprecedented action”, reports Xinhua news agency

The package entitles full-time, part-time and casual employees who have had their work affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to the A$1,500 fortnight “job keeper payment”.

Morrison said he expected as many as 6 million Australians to access the payment, saying the supporting measures can help them “get to the other side of this coronavirus crisis”.

The payment will be made to employers by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) who will then be legally obligated to pass it on in full to employees.

New Zealanders with 444 visas, which enable them to live, study and work in Australia indefinitely, will also be eligible for the subsidy.

The Australian Parliament, which was suspended for six months after voting to legislate the first two stimulus packages, will briefly reconvene to vote on the subsidy.

(Agencies)