Lismore CBD vacancy rates are on the agenda after several long term business shut their doors. Photo: Marc Stapelberg
Lismore CBD vacancy rates are on the agenda after several long term business shut their doors. Photo: Marc Stapelberg

Will vital JobKeeper payments be extended?

ANXIOUS business owners, who have relied on JobKeeper to stay open and to keep people employed during the pandemic, are worried the wage subsidy program may be axed at the end of September.

The future of the JobKeeper program beyond September will be reviewed in coming weeks, with an announcement expected on July 23.

Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry is urging people to sign up, executive officer Emma Wallace saying access to JobKeeper is a lifeline for many of their member businesses.

Ms Wallace said they are part of the 844,000 businesses nationwide on the scheme, which Treasury estimates will cover 3.5 million Australians.

"I'm on JobKeeper which is a huge relief in that I have a job and that the chamber can keep doing its utmost to support its members during this challenging time," she said.

"We are doing all we can to assist members to sign up to the scheme which is designed to keep staff members on the payroll during the pandemic lockdown."

Ms Wallace said all eligible businesses should sign up and get on board so that the government can see there is a genuine need for the subsidy.

To help further, she said: "We are offering current members a three month extension on paying their memberships and all new members get three month free".

Earlier Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed the JobKeeper payment was an "economic lifeline" to millions of workers.

"Treasury estimates that in the absence of the $70 billion JobKeeper payment the unemployment rate would be five percentage points higher," he said.

With the review coming up, Mr Frydenberg said the government would "do what it takes" for the country to bounce back.

Meanwhile, Page MP Kevin Hogan would not be drawn on his thoughts about the future of the subsidy.

"The Federal Government's JobKeeper payment will remain until September 27. This is as per when the program was announced on March 30." he said.

"There is a review underway into the implementation and administrative processes of the program. The Treasurer will announce the outcomes on July 23."