What are your thoughts on how JobKeeper was handled?
It is clear now that there were multiple flaws in the design of JobKeeper.
Subsidiaries of companies were allowed to apply, even if the consolidated group might have been ineligible. Companies were allowed to apply, at least initially, on the back of predicted drops in turnover, not actual ones.
But the worst flaw was that once qualified, a business received the funds for the entire period, regardless of whether their circumstances changed.
There is an argument some flaws were acceptable given the need to ensure the scheme got funds quickly into the hands of employers at the start of the COVID-19 crisis (https://www.afr.com/chanticleer/jobkeeper-lessons-should-be-learnt-as-asx-300-profits-boom-20210317-p57bo8). But the fact JobKeeper wasn’t tweaked as the economy rapidly rebounded last year is inexplicable. Surely the ATO – which likes to bang on about its data-matching capability – could have monitored turnover of businesses and gently, cautiously wound back payments over the second half of the year.
Do you think JobKeeper was handled as well as it could have been given the circumstances?