The federal government has backflipped on an earlier suggestion it would extend its JobKeeper package by $5 billion meaning 1.1million casual workers will miss out on $1500-a-fortnight payments.
The Labor Party and unions wanted casuals employed for less than a year to receive the payments, but the government said that only workers who have been with one business for 12 months are eligible.
Casual workers who do not qualify for the scheme will be able to access Centrelink’s JobSeeker payments which have been boosted to $1,100 a fortnight.
On Sunday, Attorney general Christian Porter said the government was working on including more casual workers in the $130 billion package.
But on Monday Porter he confirmed the government would not expand the scheme.
“Even with expenditure of this extraordinary size there has to be some definitions and some lines drawn,” he said. “We think this is a fair and reasonable line. I looked it and I can’t accept it because it is too broad in my observation and the observation of the government.”
Labor’s Industrial Relations spokesman Tony Burke said up to 1.1 million casual workers will miss out on a wage subsidy “because of the Morrison Government’s refusal to compromise”.