The government’s decision to wind back JobKeeper could see up to 640,000 jobs lost in the next eight months due to Australia’s second wave of coronavirus infections.
About 330,000 positions could be stripped from the retail and construction sectors as the country battles a second wave of unemployment, according to consulting firm McKinsey.
Figures, given to The Australian, show the jobs will be axed between now and March next year.
The lowest projection is 270,000, which means the economic impact of COVID-19 could be felt for a decade.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has faced multiple calls for his resignation over the state’s handling of the second coronavirus wave and the hotel quarantine outbreaks.
On Monday federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said ‘mistakes must be explained’.
“We know with respect to quarantine, there have been very significant failures with deadly consequences. Victorians deserve answers. I’ll leave that to Daniel Andrews and his government to provide.”
The McKinsey data shows losses in the construction sector could be up to 205,000 by March next year if the government assistance is cut back as expected and a ‘prolonged recovery’ sets in.
The CFMEU confirmed they are anticipating that type of loss if the government doesn’t implement serious stimulus measures such as social and affordable housing.
Victoria’s stage 4 restrictions mean only one person per household is allowed out to shop once a day and only essential retail outlets can open including including supermarkets, chemists, petrol stations and bottle shops.
Major department stores and retailers have to remain closed for the remainder of stage 4 restrictions but can offer online shopping.
The retail industry has lost 42,000 jobs due to the coronavirus so far this year and could lose another 215,000 according to McKinsey.
Major department stores in Sydney still haven’t re-opened some of their locations as they face a major drop in sales due to coronavirus.
The JobKeeper payment was originally due to run until 27 September this year but the Treasurer has extended it for eligible businesses until March 28.
Under the changes the payment has been reduced from $1500 per fortnight to $1200 from September 20 and will drop to $1000 from January 4.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told the ABC on Sunday that JobKeeper payments could change again in the future.
‘If facts change, we’ll reassess what may or may not be appropriate at the time.’