The looming end of JobKeeper will hit Victoria harder than anywhere else in Australia, with tens of thousands of jobs tipped to disappear.
Small businesses are calling for a last-minute reprieve before the government’s $90 billion bailout ends on Sunday night.
Up to 150,000 jobs are predicted to go across Australia.
More than one million Victorians had their wages subsidised between April and September 2020.
That number then dropped to 388,986 in January 2021 and this is the largest number of any state or territory.
On March 29 there will be zero Victorian workers on JobKeeper.
“Here we are with the pandemic being well managed and vaccinations happening and these people are now being written off,” Bill Lang from Small Business Australia said.
‘It’s going to make a lot of people line up in that Centrelink office.’
“We need to do more.”
There are calls for JobKeeper to be extended, giving industries an eleventh hour reprieve.
“I had to sell my house. I haven’t earned a wage for 12 months,” Melbourne travel agent Josh Zuker told 7NEWS.
“I’ve been on edge for the last week. It’s going to make a lot of people line up in that Centrelink office”.
But Treasury Secretary Dr Steven Kennedy said it “dampens incentives to work”.
“In summary, JobKeeper has played a crucial role in supporting the economy and driving the recovery,” he said.
“In our view it is appropriate for the program to end as other support measures take effect and to allow the economy to continue adjusting.”