Australia's JobKeeper program now estimated to cost $70 billion instead of $130 billion
Big revisions to estimates from the Treasury and ATOThe government now estimates that the number of employees likely to be covered under the JobKeeper program to be around 3.5 million, instead of the estimated 6.5 million employees initially when the program was developed.
They make mention that the revision partly reflects the level and impact of health restrictions not having been as severe as expected, but this accounting slip up highlighted in the report is perhaps the more noticeable detail:
The ATO's review of these forms has found that around 1,000 of those businesses appear to have made significant errors when reporting the estimate of eligible employees on their enrolment form. The most common error was that instead of reporting the number of employees they expected to be eligible, they reported the amount of assistance they expected to receive. For example, over 500 businesses with '1' eligible employee reported a figure of '1,500' (which is the amount of JobKeeper payment they would expect to receive for each fortnight for that employee).
The bigger question now is, with the estimated cost to taxpayers now likely to be nearly halved, will the government consider extending the program to support businesses further?