Australia Not all happy with JobKeeper substitute
Leading chairmen back targeted support to replace JobKeeper ‘drip'
Leading chairmen back targeted support to replace JobKeeper ‘drip'The chairmen of National Australia Bank, Suncorp Group and Newcrest Mining have thrown their support behind further government help for struggling industries such as aviation, tourism and education, as the end of the JobKeeper scheme looms.
Major banks have thrown their support behind the Morrison government's post-JobKeeper scheme but some business groups are far from happy, with one labelling it "second-class support".
The much awaited $1.2 billion package offers cheap loans aimed at small and medium sized businesses still struggling to recover from last year's recession and half-price airfares to bolster a deflated aviation sector.
The scheme aims to fill the stimulus gap when the JobKeeper wage subsidy ends later this month with 10-year loans featuring 24-month repayment holidays, while funding is being provided so airlines can offer domestic flights between April and July at a 50 per cent discount.
Qantas asks for paid pilot, crew training to replace JobKeeper
Qantas is pushing the federal government to pay for training for thousands of stood down aviation workers as a replacement lifeline when the JobKeeper wage subsidy finishes at the end of March. About 9000 Qantas employees and 3000 at Virgin are still stood down from work as domestic flying remains at around 50 per cent of pre-COVID levels and international operations are grounded.Virgin and unions have been pushing for an aviation-specific package to replace JobKeeper, dubbed AviationKeeper, given the impact border closures continue to have on the sector.
Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said banks were working with the government to deliver the loans, describing the scheme as the right product for the times.
"It includes more flexibility and will allow small businesses to re-stock, rebuild and recover," Ms Bligh said.
Australian Airports Association chief executive James Goodwin expects the new funding will encourage Australians to start booking flights.
"Anything that can fill seats and put more aircraft in the sky is a good thing and will have flow-on effects for the airport sector," he said.
The Regional Aviation Association said without support measures companies could not sustain losses in continuing flights which provide vital medical supplies and freight to regional communities.
Half-price flights on offer as Government asks Australians to holiday for cheap at home
The move is aimed at propping up ailing parts of the tourism and aviation sectors, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and fear the end of the JobKeeper program later this month. Between April and July, a 50 per cent discount on tickets will be offered for flights to and from 13 regions that normally rely heavily on international visitors.The destinations are the Gold Coast, Cairns, the Whitsundays region, the Sunshine Coast, the Lasseter region which includes Uluru, Alice Springs, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie, Broome, Avalon, Merimbula and Kangaroo Island.
Video: Businesses have until September 30 to sign up for boosted apprenticeship wage subsidy (Sky News Australia)
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott also believes it will be a job saving package and a huge boost for some the hardest hit regions.
But the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the package falls short of what is needed to save many flailing tourism, accommodation and hospitality businesses.
"This narrowly targeted package is disenfranchising for many hard-working operators in the tourism industry whose plight is being ignored," ACCI's executive chair for tourism John Hart said.
He said it fails to provide support for CBDs, especially Sydney and Melbourne, does not assist those who are unable to wait for loans to kick in and avoids setting out a roadmap to open the country to international visitors.
Council of Small Business Organisations Australia CEO Peter Strong agrees that support for other industries is also needed, like events and the music industry.
He also believes there should also be an emphasis on training, with many of his members having vacancies they can't fill.
Mr Strong said the banks won't be giving out loans to pay wages.
"They will give you a loan if you have got a good business plan and you have got a good track record," Mr Strong told ABC television.
"That will keep people in jobs."
Bulldogs coach slams AFL over sub rule .
AFL coaches are not unanimous in their view over the new medical substitute rule, with Luke Beveridge disappointed at how the key change has been introduced.It had been made out that coaches were unanimous in their support for the new rule, which was confirmed on Wednesday, little more than 24 hours before the first match of the season.