Australian businesses have applied en masse for the Federal Government's $130 billion JobKeeper package, keeping the projected unemployment rate much lower than it would have been otherwise.
This afternoon Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (pictured) announced more than 800,000 businesses had registered for the scheme so far, while Treasury figures forecast a peak in the unemployment rate at 10 per cent for the June quarter.
"But for the JobKeeper package, unemployment would have peaked at 15 per cent - five percentage points higher," he said.
"The JobKeeper package is providing an economic lifeline to millions of Australians. At $130 billion, it's a wage subsidy the size of and scale and scope of which Australia has never seen before.
"As of today well over 800,000 businesses have registered with the tax office for the JobKeeper payment. So the unemployment rise is very concerning, but it's also a reflection of the economic challenges we face."
The treasurer reiterated the government's message that "we cannot get ahead of the medical advice" and "to do so would be dangerous and unrealistic".
"The medical advice has served Australia well and Australians expect us to be implementing measures that reflect that advice, so over time once we get to the recovery phase and restrictions are eased, at that point you will see more people come back into the workforce.
"Businesses are paying their employees and others are working on getting access to that finance, but we do know once we get to that first week of May the money will continue to flow."
Frydenberg said more than $4.5 billion had so far made its way to people's pockets as a result of the package.
"We've actually seen some of the spending as a result of that money, indicating that people are spending that money, whether it's at the local mechanic or whether it's at the local corner or paying down some other accumulated debts."
Updated at 2:27pm AEST on 14 April 2020.
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support