Yesterday, federal Treasurer Josh Frydenburg and Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the $130 billion wage subsidy package.
The announcement goes well beyond previous stimulus packages by giving 6 million workers a flat payment of $1,500 per fortnight, through their employer.
The assistance is available to businesses with a turnover of less than $1 billion and have had a reduction in revenue of 30 per cent or more in a month since March 1, 2020. The expansion of eligibility means that many more companies will have access to these funds than previous measures.
For companies in the rail industry, such funding could be a lifeline to hold onto staff who may have otherwise been let go said Dennis Mah – strategy and commercial development – at Sonaray, which supplies lighting to rail projects.
“We will be taking advantage of all the government packages to retain all staff as long as possible. Luckily our over heads are not that high but when there is no or limited cash flow it hurts the bottom line,” said Mah.
Announcing the measures, Morrison noted that the funds will help businesses survive through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This is about keeping the connection between the employer and the employee and keeping people in their jobs even though the business they work for may go into hibernation and close down for six months,” he said.
“When the economy comes back, these businesses will be able to start again and their workforce will be ready to go because they will remain attached to the business through our JobKeeper payment.”
According to Mah, however, there is further room for companies in the rail sector in particular to complete works now that would otherwise not be done.
“This could be the ideal time to access a lot of areas where normally it is restricted due to high pedestrian traffic.”